What Pittsburgh can learn from Uber Movement, the ride-sharing company’s new data website

Uber Movement offers real-time data about ride-sharing trips.

Your Uber ride could now be part of city planning.

Your Uber ride could now be part of city planning.

Jared Wickerham/ For The Incline
MJ Slaby

City officials will soon be able to take into account when and where Pittsburghers are using Uber when planning for transportation needs in the city.

The ride-sharing company announced a new website Monday called Uber Movement. Populated with anonymous GPS data from Uber trips everywhere the company operates, it aims to reveal traffic patterns that could help urban planners and local leaders with infrastructure and transportation planning.

“Since Uber is available 24/7, we can compare travel conditions across different times of day, days of the week, or months of the year — and how travel times are impacted by big events, road closures or other things happening in a city,” according to a press release.

Alex Pazuchanics, policy coordinator for the city, said he’s excited to see the data from Uber, especially since it provides real-time transportation data.

Data from Uber Movement will show how people use ride-sharing in real time and adds a layer of information to existing transportation data, such as the usage of Port Authority buses and the T, he said. Pazuchanics added that the city already has multiple data sets for transportation through the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center, and Uber’s information will help validate that data, too.

Knowing more about ride-sharing can help city officials with things like creating detours and completing traffic impact studies for new developments, he said. It will also be another tool for the new Department of Mobility and Infrastructure, which was funded in the city’s 2017 budget and is expected to announce a director soon.

Uber plans to partner with agencies and researchers who want to use the data and will make it available to the public in mid-February. Only some partner organizations will receive the data before the public rollout of Uber Movement, according to the company. Uber officials wouldn’t say if Pittsburgh or any other organizations in Pittsburgh would be part of that first group. It’s also unclear if data from Uber rides in the self-driving car pilot will be included in data about Pittsburgh.

Pazuchanics said city officials weren’t involved in the creation of Uber Movement, but were aware of the project and provided feedback on what information would be relevant. He said he expects to have access in the next couple of weeks to learn more about the data set and how to use it.