Uber announced earlier this week the launch of their new website called Movement, which provides access to anonymised data from over 2 billion trips to help improve urban planning around the world. It allows users to analyse vehicle movement, travel duration estimates, and other route details over customisable date-ranges. Through this new tool Uber hopes to help city planners make transportation more efficient.

According to the website, Movement aims to provide city officials with “detailed historical insights [that] make it possible to measure the impact of road improvements, major events, new transit lines, and more, help planners and policymakers [conduct] complex analysis on transportation patterns […] for better decision making around future infrastructure investments, as well as inform the general public in due time”.

Now, when city infrastructure planners sit down to decide whether to introduce a new lane, or build a stop-sign, or approve the construction of an office complex — within a Traffic Analysis Zone — they will have access to useful information about how it might affect the movement of traffic in the pertinent area, thanks to Uber’s GPS-extracted information.

According to Uber: “Over the past six and a half years, we’ve learned a lot about the future of urban mobility and what it means for cities and the people who live in them. We’ve gotten consistent feedback from cities we partner with that access to our aggregated data will inform decisions about how to adapt existing infrastructure and invest in future solutions to make our cities more efficient. We hope Uber Movement can play a role in helping cities grow in a way that works for everyone.”

Uber’s app records commute times, between ‘check-in’ and destination, for each trip — also collecting information about travel times, traffic patterns, road events (like closures, rush hours, etc.) within smaller segments of the journey.

Uber will also take care to prevent private data from becoming exposed as a result of this transparency. The “anonymised data” means that the maps would be stripped of any information on passenger behaviour or personal identifiability.

The service is currently available for select cities — Sydney, Washington D.C., Manila — and will be rolled out to other cities in “the weeks ahead”.