11 Jan Arizona Traffic Reduction Program Tracks Resident Cellphone Data
The Arizona city of Flagstaff recently launched a program that uses cellphone data to reduce traffic congestion. While totally voluntary and anonymous, participating citizens are tracked and their data is analyzed by a private company which sells the information to the organization that operates the program.
StreetLight Data, the analytics firm involved in the program, says that it gathers the data from a range of sources, including fitness trackers and dating and weather apps. They then blend in local government traffic information and census data to predict traffic flow.
While urban planners laud smart cities movements for using private data to address public issues, critics have voiced their concerns, saying that activities where firms exploit Big Data to discern personal habits pose considerable privacy risks.
Source: Washington Times