Uber and World Bank Launch Separate Open Traffic Data Initiatives

The announcement by Uber that they will provide free time of day travel time data could be a game-changer for free and open routing and planning tools, such as Valhalla and Mapzen’s isochrone tool.  These tools use GTFS schedule data as a decent surrogate for transit travel times, and calculate walk and bike times, but they lack a source of good, free auto travel times. Mapzen, for example, uses the speed limit data from Open Street Maps, which is unrealistically optimistic during peak travel times in urban areas. This move by Uber will provide open data in cities where Uber operates. Another initiative, the Open Transport Partnership (launched by the World Bank) is also working to develop free and open traffic travel time data.