Uber Technologies Inc. is increasingly playing nice with municipalities.
The mobile car-booking application said today it will start sharing data about its rides with the city of Boston. The information, which will be anonymized to strip out individuals’ identifying characteristics, can help Boston with issues such as traffic congestion, public transportation expansion and urban growth, Justin Kintz, Uber’s head of public policy, said in a phone interview.
“Uber will share the data that is compiled in a manner that protects the privacy of riders and drivers, but can also help cities to target solutions for city planning,” he said.
The agreement signals how Uber is working with local authorities to work toward mutual solutions after facing regulatory backlashes across the globe, which have in many cases hampered its service. In December, Uber agreed to limit its service in Portland, Oregon, for three months as it looks for ways to operate legally within the city’s regulations.
Uber, the most highly valued U.S. technology startup at a valuation of $40 billion, has also faced issues in Boston. A driver in the city was charged last month with raping a female passenger.
Uber is ready to partner with other cities, Kintz said. Boston is the first city the company is working with because of its interest in adopting “smart cities solutions,” he said.
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said in a statement that data is helping the city to make policy decisions.
“We are using data to change the way we deliver services and we welcome the opportunity to add to our resources,” he said.
“It’s great to see Uber taking a more privacy friendly approach by providing ZIP code level records, which can be just as useful for city-planning purposes but which help maintain individual privacy,” Jules Polonetsky, Director and Co-Chair of the Future of Privacy Forum, said in a blog post.
This article was written by Serena Saitto from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.