I’m a little bit of a data junkie. I love collecting odd facts, and as a result, people often ask me for help in sourcing data. Here’s my favorite odd data source this year.
One common problem with retail developments is that one needs to nail down the amount of vehicular traffic. In much of America, vehicular traffic is the quickest way to measure potential demand. While there is data that is available from government when it comes to traffic counts on major roads, if you have a retail site on a side street, you’re basically out of luck. While you can make estimates, you never have really good data unless, of course, you’re willing to pay for someone to stand and count cars for a couple of weeks and even then, it’s just a sample of who drove by you. It doesn’t help you solve the more interesting question of where are they going and where did they come from.
There’s a new source of data coming from an unlikely source: Uber.
To make a long story short, they have a new initiative called Uber Movement. They have decided to provide access to anonymous data from over 2 billion trips over a six year period. That’s an incredible treasure trove of data, and it’s just begging to be mined. Of course, Uber has its own reasons for doing this; they want to convince city planners that shared car services are the way of the future. If they’re going to convince regulators that Uber can supplement and/or replace mass transit systems, they need to get the data out there.
In any event, for now, I’ll just enjoy the fact that I can finally have real data on where people are going when they drive by a site that I own.