Mobility Data is Our Civic Data

Adriana Valdez Young
Jun 25 · 3 min read

At Stae, we believe the data people generate by getting where they need to go every day is civic data, and not up to private vendors to decide if and on what terms it gets shared. While data is essential for cities to proactively manage these new services, mobility companies haven’t always agreed.

This is why we’re excited to announce that Stae is joining the Open Mobility Foundation (OMF) — an open-source software foundation led by cities committed to using open standards globally. (Think: Linux Foundation with a specific focus on keeping mobility technologies and data open and safe.) Together, OMF members will help build a governance structure around open-source mobility tools, beginning with a focus on the Mobility Data Specification (MDS).

MDS is a set of APIs that creates standardized two-way communications for cities and private transportation providers to share information about their operations. In essence, MDS empowers cities to collect trip-level data that was often previously inaccessible. This data is critical for local governments to inform everything from real-time traffic management to long-term, public policy and urban planning decisions. It also provides an opportunity for cities to share data with vendors to enforce regulations and ensure safety. More than 50 cities across the U.S. (and dozens globally) already use MDS to manage micro-mobility services like dockless bikes and scooters. Stae currently serves as a data partner for the transportation and mobility teams in Louisville, KY and Greensboro, NC, supporting their adoption of MDS to ingest real-time data from operators like Bird and Lime.

Stae joins OMF’s Technology Council to support the co-creation of open-source, MDS-compliant mobility tools together with cities, research institutions, technology companies, advocacy organizations, and more. Beyond the technical and policy challenges we’ll address together, we’re excited to be signing on to support OMF’s core principles:

Open-Source — Use open-source code and APIs to promote the formation of an ecosystem of private companies and public agencies who come together to build open-source code and APIs that can be used as the basis for products that manage and use the public right-of-way.

Competition — Encourage the creation of competitive markets for commercial products and services based on the open-source projects within the Open Mobility Foundation.

Data and Privacy — Foster a community that enables public agencies to generate data through the services they provide while also adhering to world-class privacy and data security standards.

Compatibility — Create projects among all stakeholders that promote interoperability across borders and avoid a patchwork of regulations.

Sustainability — Promote business models that ensure sustainable transportation networks for generations to come.

Modularity — Create a flexible kit of parts and framework that public agencies may designate to fit their needs.

We look forward to sharing our work with OMF and supporting cities around the world in their adoption and application of MDS. In the meantime, here are a few resources we’ve created to help cities manage micro-mobility vendors:

To learn more about how Stae helps cities manage data from micro-mobility operators and adopt MDS, please reach out:

City as a Service

A community for civic-data wranglers, developers, and innovators: @staehere

Adriana Valdez Young

Written by

Making things for cities, with cities @staehere | Past @littleBits @Openbox | Teaching things @TheNewSchool | Alum @LSEcities

City as a Service

A community for civic-data wranglers, developers, and innovators: @staehere

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