Shared Mobility Data Sharing: Opportunities for Public-Private Partnerships is a 29-page report written for TransLink, the Vancouver, Canada area’s transportation authority to help the agency plan a path forward with respect to developing a data sharing policy and data sharing agreement.
The document 1 discusses issues associated with data sharing in some detail, including good examples of each. It also presents overviews of the GBFS and MDS standards and the rationale and state of the practice at the time for 3rd party data management. The report concludes with a set of specific recommendations and options for Translink to consider.
The shared mobility data sharing environment is evolving rapidly. Although this study is only a couple of years old, it’s somewhat negative view of MDS reflects the then-new and not yet widely adapted status of the standard. This has changed over just the past two years. The concerns expressed on the viability of some of the third-party data providers, however, remain accurate as of early 2021.
The document discusses two major sets of issues with data sharing: the private sector’s concerns with sharing their proprietary data and privacy concerns. The report includes several instructive real-world examples of how location data can be re-identified and why the resulting information may reveal sensitive personal information. It describes how bike and scooter sharing services have generally been more willing to share data than TNCs.
The report then introduces the GBFS and MDS data standards, their relationship to one another, their uses, as well as benefits and challenges. MDS has evolved somewhat since the summary provided in this report. The discussion and examples of the challenges with implementing MDS is good, but also dated. For example, it cites Washington DC’s initial decision that MDS was too complex to implement, but this decision was changed in 2020, with a new requirement that service providers implement an MDS API for obtaining data.
The report’s discussion of SharedStreets provides a good introduction to the ShareStreets Referencing System in addition to discussing its roles as a data aggregator and analytics provider.