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Sidewalk Labs Launches 'Operating System' for Urban Data

The 'Coord' platform will give mobility companies a centralized place to access and use local data on parking, curb space, tolls, and the like.
February 10, 2018, 11am PST | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Last year we saw Sidewalk Labs, the smart cities shop run by Google's parent company Alphabet, partner with the city of Toronto to plan for a new kind of digitally integrated neighborhood. Now, the venture has launched Coord, a cloud-based platform designed to serve as an "operating system" for urban mobility services.

"[Coord] will build the cloud-based platform to integrate the many mobility services that have sprung up around the world's cities in the past few years—bike-sharing, car-sharing, and ride-hailing—plus more traditional transportation options, like public transit," writes Aarian Marshall.

Software developers at mobility companies will be able, for a price, to access reams of local data often kept in separate silos. "For now, says [CEO Stephen] Smyth, Coord is dealing in data about infrastructure, not individuals."

The platform has the potential to improve how a variety of players utilize urban data.

"A bike-sharing company using Coord, for example, could see its service offered alongside other transportation options within a navigation app like Google Maps: A user could locate a bike, evaluate its cost against competitors', and buy a ride, all without breaking out a credit card. Or a toll agency working with Coord could push out info on dynamic toll prices, so a driver knows how much her trip will cost before she leaves the house."

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Published on Thursday, February 1, 2018 in Wired
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