Car Culture

Ford, Uber, Lyft and others band together to smarten up our streets

In cooperation with NACTO and SharedStreets, these companies are creating data standards in an effort to make street use more efficient.

One of SharedStreets' pilot programs involves tracking for-hire car pickup and drop-off volume by time of day in Washington D.C.

SharedStreets

Ford, Uber, Lyft and the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) announced Wednesday that they're teaming up with SharedStreets to better understand how city streets are being used, and to find ways to make them safer, smarter and more efficient.

SharedStreets is an organization that gives municipalities and private companies tools to accurately map the way that they use public roads, as well as the effect that use has on people in a given area. The end goal is to reduce traffic collisions and improve efficiency, both in terms of vehicle emissions and in terms of traffic density.

The partnerships between NACTO, Ford, Lyft, Uber and SharedStreets all have different facets and goals. For example, in its partnership with Ford, SharedStreets says it will work to develop a universal data standard that can be used to show real-time curb space demand and availability. With Uber, the partnership will focus on a global dataset of driving speeds to understand better where and when drivers are speeding. Lyft will also provide data to this end.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for business and government to work together to rethink transportation," Jim Hackett, Ford Motor Company president and CEO, said in a statement. "Collaborating through initiatives such as SharedStreets 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."

Both Lyft and Uber will work with SharedStreets to provide anonymized aggregated data on passenger pickups and drop-offs. This would let city planners and transportation officials know where the most popular spots are for ride-hailing pickups and adjust traffic control devices to reduce congestion in these areas.

"Code is the new concrete for 21st-century cities, and we need a digital infrastructure to share data and create safer and more sustainable streets," Janette Sadik-Khan, chairperson of NACTO, said in a statement. "The SharedStreets platform offers cities and private sector players a powerful new data sharing tool to make that future possible."