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MIT, GE, Audi launch HubCab Project in New York City

13 March 2014

MIT, in partnership with Audi and GE, has launched HubCab—a transportation tracking tool aimed at reducing commuting congestion, decreasing vehicle emissions and lowering the cost of mobility infrastructure. HubCab tracks more than 150 million taxi rides in New York City over the course of a year. With this information, researchers can identify commuter travel patterns and work to develop a more efficient car share system.

MIT researchers say HubCab technology could not only save people money and time, but allow users to better plan their taxi rides around the city, potentially reducing the number of trips by 40%. HubCab is another step by Audi and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Senseable City Lab to work toward improving transportation efficiency systems that reshape that way people move and live in their daily lives.

Part of the vision for a more sustainable urban future involves the utilization of Big Data, such as that provided by HubCab. Users can explore 200 thousand street segments in New York over several time segments of the day, which amounts to more than one trillion flow combinations. HubCab allows users to discover exactly when and where taxis pick up and drop individuals in New York City, which is useful in helping identify specific areas and time of condensed pickup and drop-off activities.

Information generated by the HubCab project also offers potential application to other existing Audi urban mobility initiatives, including Audi Urban Intelligent Assist (AUIA). The project, conducted by Audi, ERL and university research partners, utilizes real time urban data to develop connected car technologies that reduce congestion, improve safety and make urban driving less stressful. This data includes local vehicle and pedestrian information, which could ultimately be sourced from the HubCab project.

The HubCab project team was led by Carlo Ratti, director of the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which is sponsored by ERL and General Electric. Ratti is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council for Urban Management.

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