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Chicago Publishes Ride-Hailing App Data

As part of its push towards open data, the City of Chicago published comprehensive data on Transportation Network Providers (TNP) – commonly known as ride-hailing companies – on April 12.

“Making comprehensive and secure data available to the public is a fundamental element of good governance and a pinnacle of this administration,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “With this information, we will better understand our transportation landscape and be prepared to solve future mobility problems.”

Chicago released three data sets, made available on Chicago’s open data portal, which were deidentified to protect both drivers and passengers. The data sets include information on:

  • Registered vehicles, including: make, model, and year; month of last inspection; and total trips completed.
  • Registered drivers, including: driver start month; city of residence; and total trips completed.
  • TNP trips, including: starting and ending location, collected by census tract; starting and ending time rounded to nearest 15 minutes; and trip fare rounded to nearest $2.50 and tip rounded to nearest $1.00.

The city called the data sets “a landmark accomplishment” that enables “data uniformity and transparency.” Emanuel’s office noted that the data will be updated quarterly as ride-hailing companies report data to the city.  The city also noted that the information released in this most recent data set is very similar to data the city already publishes related to taxis.

As for potential privacy concerns, the city maintains that it has done significant work to protect the identity of both drivers and passengers.

“This release of this data is consistent with the City’s ongoing commitment to make data openly available to support transparency, research, and planning,” said Danielle DuMerer, Department of Innovation and Technology commissioner and CIO of the City of Chicago. “As with any data release, the City conducts a privacy review and has masked certain data elements.”

The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), which licenses ride-hailing apps, agreed with DuMerer that protecting privacy is essential when it comes to open data.

“Public data is very important in the transportation realm, but so is privacy,” said BACP Commissioner Rosa Escareno. “We work closely with industries that operate in Chicago and use the information to make policy, improve operations and to ensure compliance with City requirements.”

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