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Uber And Waze Open Data To Seduce Cities


The VTC specialist and the navigation app community share their data with communities to help them cross the course of the smart city … And get closer to them.

Millions of smartphones rather than millions of sensors. Instead of being equipped with multiple connected road infrastructures, since October 2014 cities have been able to join Waze’s Connected Citizens program. The community navigation app purchased by Google in 2013 offers them free access from a platform dedicated to alerts sent in real time by users crossing their territory. “Today we have more than 200 partners in the world, including more than a dozen in France, who come from both the public and the private sector,” says Jérôme Marty, France director at Waze.

Waze relies on the exchange of good processes

In the Hexagon, companies whose activities have a direct impact on traffic, such as Sanef, Vinci Autoroutes or Eiffage and Suez, were seduced: “They share with us cold data such as their current work areas and Next, we are able to alert our users if they are on their way, and we regularly mention the partners who provide information, we provide them in exchange for notoriety. ”

Waze’s Connected Citizens program today has more than 200 partners worldwide

But the members of Connected Citizens are mostly territories, like the departments of Aisne, Loiret, and Var for example. Waze opens the anonymous and aggregated data collected by his community in return for information on events planned at home that could disrupt road traffic, including.

The agglomeration of Versailles Grand Parc took the opportunity to improve the organization of the Paris-Versailles race in September: “We have been looking for years for a simple and direct solution to warn motorists of the disruption to be expected on the 61 kilometers of “Entering the exact schedule of closed roads on Connected Citizens allows us to directly influence the behavior of Waze drivers, and in return, in three weeks of racing, they have put together more than a million pieces of information.” rejoices Julie Hodez, head of the territorial engineering department of the Communauté d’agglomération of Versailles Grand Parc.

“Municipal police have connected their centralized command post to Waze’s data”

It is also the opportunity to become a smart territory at lower cost: “It would cost us a fortune to put sensors on the streets to gather all this information on traffic conditions.”

In a few months, 4 of the 19 municipalities in the agglomeration have connected to the platform. Versailles Grand Parc will repeat the experience with the next Paris-Nice and has already developed new intelligent applications from the app’s data: “The municipal police have connected their centralized command post to Waze’s data and we now seize automatically Connected Citizens work orders The long-term idea is to monitor all urban traffic from this data exchange, “she says.

For Julie Hodez, this kind of device creates a general awareness of the benefits of open data. “Until now, a lot of elected officials were nervous about the openness of the data and this initiative showed them that it brings a real added value,” she enthuses. “It also allows us to talk better with our partners, like in Greater Paris, and Waze’s data allow us to predict which infrastructures can reduce congestion.”

“Until now, a lot of elected officials were cautious about open data and this initiative showed them that it brought real added value”

Jean-Marc Lazard, CEO, and founder of OpenDataSoft, a French company that designs open data platforms for many companies and local authorities, also sees a lot of advantages in using the information provided by wazer. “This is an objective and quantitative way to measure the impact of a political decision on traffic, which could have been used to prepare for the closing of the riverbank lanes in Paris, for example.” Connected Citizens also opens up infinite crossover fields It is thus possible to measure the impact of the closure of a subway line for work on traffic, air quality, etc. ”

It is also an ideal ally to prepare tomorrow’s digital revolutions according to Mouloud Dey, director of innovation and business development at the American data management specialist SAS: “Cities can imagine from these data the infrastructures that will be needed for the future connected and autonomous vehicle, including defining priorities to enable vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, and creating an ecosystem to rethink mobility. ”

If Versailles Grand Parc does not have enough perspective to measure the impact of Connected Citizens on traffic on its territory, Jerome Marty boasts of many positive use cases. “Boston has reduced congestion on its main junctions by 18% and Rio has been able to identify areas where lighting needs to be improved to avoid accidents, for example.”

Uber is testing the field of open data

A success that has not escaped another transport giant: the market leader of the VTC Uber. In early January, the American company launched Uber Movement, a portal where cities can register and receive personalized statistics on road traffic on their streets from anonymized data collected by the smartphones of its drivers and users. Present in more than 450 cities, the app has so far convinced Boston, Manila, Sydney, and Washington. “Like Waze, Uber has reached such a large volume of users that we can draw reliable statistics,” observes Jean-Marc Lazard.

“Uber is aware that his data are currently slightly monetized and he has questions about the appetite of the private and public for this data. The best way to test this is to make them free”, analysis Guillaume Crunelle, Partner at Deloitte Consulting.

“Knowing the places of interest, where there is the most passage, can determine a map of value in the cities”

According to him, the data of both Uber and Waze have a significant potential for monetization. “Knowing the places of interest, where there is the most passage, allows to determine a map of the value in the cities and can influence the value of the square meter in real estate like the establishment and the positioning of the businesses depending on the clientele that circulates in this or that neighborhood, “he continues.

What remains is to find a viable model: “One can imagine that cities will retain free access and that private actors who use Uber data to evaluate investments pay them instead of doing their own studies.”

In this case, offering San Francisco useful data to solve congestion problems could have balanced the exchanges and restored the dialogue. Uber Movement could thus become a powerful diplomatic tool for the giant of the VTC according to Mouloud Dey. “For Uber, whose image is becoming bogged down in business, opening up to the world is now essential to regain credibility.”

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