Why Uber Is Sharing Ride Data With the City of Boston

PHOTO: A sticker with the Uber logo is displayed in the window of a car in San Francisco, Calif.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
A sticker with the Uber logo is displayed in the window of a car in San Francisco, Calif., June 12, 2014.

Uber said today it will begin sharing trip data with the city of Boston with the goal of helping to reduce traffic congestion and assist urban planners.

Under the first-of-its-kind deal, the car booking app said it will give city officials granular reports about every trip taken with Uber in the city. Riders' personal information will not be included in the report, Uber said.

What city officials will see, according to Uber, is an anonymized report showing the time, date and ZIP code of where a rider was picked up and where and when their trip with Uber ended.

The data will also allow city planners to study the duration of the ride and come up with solutions to ease traffic congestion, including adding more public transportation options.

Jules Polonetsky, director and co-chair of the Future of Privacy Forum, said in a blog post that Uber's data sharing approach was "privacy friendly."

"Local regulators often demand and receive granular trip records from taxi and car service providers," 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."

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