Uber to let loose loads of ride data

From CNET: Uber is known as a secretive company that isn't keen on divulging its data. It's had public spats with lawmakers from New York to Seattle to ensure data on its rides isn't released to the public.

But now the ride-hailing company appears to be changing course.

Uber announced Sunday that it's planning to share the ride and traffic data it's collected from billions of rides. The company is releasing the data to "help urban planners make informed decisions about our cities," it wrote in a blog post.

Uber is the world's highest valued venture-backed company. Analysts say it could be worth as much as $68 billion. Its premise is simple: As a ride-hailing service, it pairs drivers with passengers via a phone app. Since its founding in 2009, Uber has grown to become one of the biggest ride-hailing services on the planet, with more than 40 million monthly active riders and operations in more than 450 cities in more than 70 countries.

While handing a trove of ride data to cities would likely be helpful to urban planners, it could also aid Uber's aims to enter more cities and thus gain more passengers. The company still isn't in South Dakota, Wyoming or upstate New York. By showing its data to regulators, Uber could demonstrate that ride-hailing might help traffic and mobility.

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