Keep up with essential planning news and commentary, delivered to your inbox every Monday and Thursday.
Sidewalk Labs Launches 'Operating System' for Urban Data
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."