Data for streets
Sidewalk Labs, the city innovation unit of Alphabet, has launched Coord. The cloud-based platform is being marketed as the definitive source for street data, taking in curbs (loading, bus stops), tollways (route costs) and parking (location, rules).
What is this about?
“Streets are complicated. Using them doesn't have to be,” says Coord, which is offering mobility outfits access to APIs to help them help their customers.
“Coord can help a ride-hail service reduce curbside congestion by enabling it to locate a legal pick-up or drop-off zone,” says Stephen Smyth, CEO of Coord. “It can help a navigation app feature trip options that users can book in-app, including a nearby bike-share dock.”
He adds that, in the future, “Coord can power fleets of self-driving vehicles that adjust their routes and prices in real time, dynamic curbs that eliminate double-parking and make deliveries easy, and tools we can’t even imagine yet that help people find, book, and pay for trips.”
Why is it important?
Sidewalk Labs was recently selected by Toronto to create a high-tech location on the waterfront, giving it the opportunity it wants to build a city from the ground up. Given Alphabet’s mission to improve the world with technological fixes, there are concerns that Sidewalk Labs’s plan for Toronto – of which little is known – might well prove to be a radical shift from city to privatised planning. And much of this will be driven by data, which is what Coord is all about.