Coord Initiative from Alphabet Sidewalk Labs

Coord could be the real time platform for bringing urban transportation into a coordinated system.

Image of urban data

Urban Data

(By Stephen Smyth from the Coord website)

“When I look ahead to the future of urban mobility, I often think back to the challenge of coordinating air travel in the mid-20th century. In the 1950s, it took a dozen people 15 steps and three hours of time just to process a simple round-trip reservation for a major airline. It was an expensive process for companies to operate and a frustrating one for the average person to navigate.

All that changed with the advent of Sabre, a reservation system originally developed by American Airlines. Sabre combined real-time search, pricing, booking, ticketing, and other reservation processing functions into a single system, ultimately giving rise to the seamless online services we all use when flying today. Through its behind-the-scenes process and data integrations, Sabre unlocked the greatest travel gifts of all: more choice, more convenience, and lower costs.

People living and working in cities today have more options than ever to get around, from existing modes like cars, buses, and trains to emerging services like bike-share, car-share, and ride-hail. But real-time information about all these options isn’t widely available. Navigation apps typically don’t offer a full menu of travel options; some do provide the ability to search options but don’t let you book them in-app. It’s also a challenge to integrate these services with the parking spots, loading zones, and the other types of transportation infrastructure found in cities.

That’s why we’re excited to launch Coord, a platform that makes it easy for companies creating and offering digital navigation tools to integrate real-time information about new modes of transportation and to facilitate transactions. Coord provides software developers with access to APIs (basically, code that’s designed to be easy for other computer systems to talk to) for data on tolls, curbs, and parking in cities across the U.S., with more options like bike-share to come.

By serving as the coordination layer for new mobility services, navigation tools, and urban infrastructure, Coord can help unlock a seamless trip experience for people in cities and inspire new solutions to urban mobility challenges. Coord can help a ride-hail service reduce curbside congestion by enabling it to locate a legal pick-up or drop-off zone. It can help a navigation app feature trip options that users can book in-app, including a nearby bike-share dock. It can help a car-share service bill members for tolls in real-time, giving people a better sense of the true cost of their trip.

We believe Coord can help coordinate it all.”

Ford also has an urban mobility initiative.

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