Alphabet plans analytics platform to help cities solve traffic problems

Sidewalks Labs, a unit of Alphabet, is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation to build a data and analytics platform that promises to help cities understand where people go and how they get there.

The goal is to help better design transportation infrastructure to suit a city’s needs.

The platform, called Flow, will rely on one of Alphabet’s core strengths: collecting, analyzing and visualizing vast amounts of data.

The system will help cities identify congestion and areas that are underserved by public transportation, enabling planners to come up with a better citywide plan that uses current and new forms of transportation, like ridesharing, Sidewalk says. That’s getting more important as commute times and distances grow longer.

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