Why Real-Time Traffic Control Has Mobility Experts Spooked

Why Real-Time Traffic Control Has Mobility Experts Spooked

A plan to develop a data standard for technology that could monitor and manage various mobility services has raised privacy fears.

Key findings

The term “digital twin” technology describes a virtual simulacra of something in the physical world—whether it’s a car engine, a casino floor, or the street network of a major city—that visualizes real changes as they occur, and is “smart” enough to model possible scenario outcomes.

The Open Mobility Foundation (OMF) describes itself as a “public-private forum” to help local governments gain control of their roads from private mobility companies, using big data and open-source code. A central part of OMF’s mission is to govern the the new mobility data standard, commonly known as MDS, unveiled by the Los Angeles department of transportation in 2018.

Uber complained that the city was collecting too much disaggregated, detailed route data that could be potentially be used to identify riders. Numerous studies have proved this is possible. And a law enforcement agency, whether its’s the local police department or ICE, could also potentially gain access to identifiable information through a records request. Similar scenarios have already occurred.

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