Google Ventures Backs Company That Studies Commuting
BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 26: A DJ plays music on September 26, 2012 at the official opening party of the Google offices in Berlin, Germany. Although the American company holds 95% of the German search engine market share and already has offices in Hamburg and Munich, its new offices on the prestigious Unter den Linden avenue are its first in the German capital. The Internet giant has been met with opposition in the country recently by the former president's wife, who has sued it based on search results for her name that she considers derogative. The European Commission has planned new data privacy regulations in a country where many residents opted in to have their homes pixeled out when the company introduced its Street View technology. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
Thursday, May 15, 2014 Updated at 7:25 PM PDT
Google Ventures is investing in a company that studies traffic congestion software and ways to alleviate it, according to reports.
Urban Engines was founded by ex-Googlers and a Stanford professor, so it definitely has some Silicon Valley times, according to TechCrunch. The company uses algorithms and data from public transit to study congestion patterns and can give solutions to cities and commuters. Data is taken from swiped cards or tokens on public transit and then used to determine crowding, wait times and congestion. Already the company has partnered with World Bank, Washington, D.C's Metro system and Sao Paolo, Brazil. The amount of the investment wasn't disclosed.
Essentially this information can make cities and other local governments make better transportation planning decisions, but the software can be used to give commuters incentives
to travel at less crowded times, according to Quartz. Riders could sign up for a program and get credit for riding at off hours or receive alerts when the transportation is at peak congestion, and the developers hope cities use this feature.
Urban Engines isn't really a fun app, but more software that can be used to help city and urban planners create a congestion-free future. However the real change will be when employers decide that employees don't have to work an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. day.