- Members of the Civic Analytics Network, a group of cities' Chief Data Officers, have penned an open letter to mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) companies regarding dockless vehicles. The signatories noted the importance of cities receiving data from dockless companies and suggested ways to standardize data collection.
- The letter listed recommendations under eight main points, including data standards, data access, open records requests, fee structures and equity.
- The signatories said providing clear standards could make cities' and companies' jobs easier, and both would save time and effort by exchanging data in a standardized way.
Data-intensive devices and services are relatively new on the municipal radar, and dockless vehicles are very new considering they've only appeared in the United States over the past year and a half. Municipalities immediately saw data collection opportunities with the emergence of such devices and have requested or mandated it from program operators.
But as the system works right now, each API provider has to figure out a way to provide its own data to each municipality. In the letter, signatories note each service provider must devise a schema, an API and data format decisions. Plus, cities ask for all sorts of customized data reports, making it even more time consuming for companies to meet the requirements at scale.
Standardization potentially makes the data collection process less onerous by clarifying expectations, allowing companies to provide the same types of data to a number of cities. That's especially true considering the detailed information the letter signatories say cities want, such as city block-level aggregated scooter data.
The letter puts forth a number of good recommendations, but it remains to be seen how MaaS companies receive all of the suggestions. Still, the letter creates a good starting point from which cities and companies can launch discussions in an attempt to devise mutually agreeable data-sharing standards.