Ford Partners With Lyft and Uber to Leverage Big Data and Reduce Traffic
Hoping for a lot more companies to join them to create a bigger databaseby Sidd Dhimaan, on
In a press release, Ford Motor Company, Lyft, Uber, and the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) have announced that they are teaming up with SharedStreets, to study and analyze traffic conditions in cities and find ways to decongest the roads. This urban mobility study will enable them to make the city roads more efficient. This collaboration was announced by Jim Hackett, Khosrowshahi, and Zimmer, CEOs of Ford, Uber and Lyft, at the second annual Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York City. Looks like a CSR activity which will help the world a lot.
SharedStreets? What’s That?
In a nutshell, SharedStreets is a universal data language for sharing information about city streets, and a launching pad for public-private collaboration to manage streets, reduce traffic deaths, and prepare cities for the unprecedented technological advancement emerging in cities. It was launched earlier this year, and is already functional in 30 cities across the globe. Now, with this collaboration between SharedStreets and few of the biggest names in the industry, the platform will provide innovators and market players with the ability to manage transportation networks with new instruments.
What Is The Motive Of The Collaboration?
The information shared by the organizations will be shared with public and private sectors with new ways and methods to manage curb space to improve the conditions of city roads, making it easier for people to reach their destination on time and reducing congestion and emissions. This initiative will also help save a lot of lives, which are lost due to traffic jams.
Currently representing 74 cities and transit agencies across North America, NACTO formally endorsed the data sharing policies of SharedStreets, committing to working collaboratively with the private sector. NACTO works in global cities like Paris, and Melbourne as well. The collaboration will also allow the government authorities to access the road traffic data, which in turn will help them in better planning, investment decisions and the feasibility of autonomous mobility. This will also help the mobility companies have access to a common set of data, which makes it easier as the local date currently vary widely.
What They Had To Say
This is what Jim Hackett, President and CEO of Ford Motor Company had to say: “Collaborating through initiatives such as Shared Streets will enable us to use vehicles, road systems and data together to create a new roadmap for mobility. We are working toward a future where all cities are smart and curb space is actively managed, increasing efficiency and safety, while reducing driver stress and pollution.”
Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber, said, “The private and public sectors need to come together and collaborate on ways to create smarter, safer and more efficient transportation systems. It’s the responsibility of companies like ours to step up and support cities in every way we can — whether that’s through data sharing, urban planning research, funding for nonprofits, or even through the introduction of new and more efficient forms of transportation like electric bicycles.”
The President and co-founder of Lyft, John Zimmer, said in a statement, “We are committed to partnering with cities and data-driven decision making to design streets that provide safe and accessible transportation for everyone. We look forward to collaborating with regulators to expand affordable mobility options, taking cars off the road and reducing congestion, and ultimately reshaping cities around people — not cars.”
Reading Between The Lines
For people with a keen eye on the proceedings, here are snippets from the press release on the duties of each company in the partnership:
Ford will develop a universal data standard for real-time curb demand and availability. With this tool, cities will be able to responsibly price and manage curb space in real-time, for the first time. It will provide a down payment on a global, comprehensive roadway pricing mechanism that cities and companies can use to encourage sustainable transportation choices, reallocate road space, and reduce carbon emissions.
Lyft will join SharedStreets and Uber to produce a universal framework for sharing curbside pick-up/drop-off counts. Building on an early SharedStreetsfeature first announced with Uber, Lyft will also collaborate on a model for providing anonymized, aggregated curb usage data to leading cities everywhere. With this model, city leaders can understand where for-hire vehicle trips are in the greatest demand, so that they can reduce congestion, make our curbsides more innovative and efficient, and better serve everyone on foot, on a bike or behind the wheel.
Uber will produce the first-ever freely available global data set of vehicle driving speeds. Building on one of the first features developed by SharedStreets, Uber will release vehicle speed data from cities around the world. With this critical data, cities can identify where exactly on their streets people are speeding or otherwise driving dangerously, so that they can redesign streets and save lives. Uber will include this speed in an update of its open-source Kepler.gl tool, providing cities everywhere with innovative new tools for data visualization and information sharing. Lyft will follow with a release their own city speed data set.
These kinds of initiatives are the need of the hour.
Cars are being deployed on the roads at an alarming rate, and the only way to allow free, efficient movement is by coming up with ideas like this one. Even though there are many companies and agencies working towards the same cause, either with the government, or independently, there is only so much they can do with their limited resources. But when giants like Ford and Uber and Lyft come together, they have the capability to make a huge impact. Like the CEO of Lyft said, we need to reduce the traffic on the roads, not the cars; and for people like us who live and breathe cars, we couldn’t agree more.
This is a huge initiative and will take time to see any noticeable changes, but at least steps have been taken towards making a change. Do you have any inputs, or ideas that would help make a difference? Share them with us in the comments section below.
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