LONDON could greatly reduce congestion by emulating the New York model for open data, claims Karhoo.

By taking advantage of New York’s publicly-available anonymised data the company was able to identify the impact of taxi and private hire (PH) on traffic flows, congestion and pollution. Analysing traffic flows in real-time, Karhoo gained key insights that could help the city tackle these pressing issues.

In its submission to the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) investigation into taxis and PH, London-based Karhoo said the opportunity should be considered by Transport for London (TfL).

The tech firm, which has over one million licensed taxis and cars worldwide, urged TfL to emulate New York’s model in a move it suggests would be quick and relatively low-cost given that almost every licensed vehicle is connected to tracking systems already.

Congestion contributes heavily to the UK’s air pollution crisis which has come further into focus this year. A series of reports published earlier in the year emphasised the links between polluted air and heart disease, dementia and other illnesses that disproportionately impact children.

London authorities have been considering trying to cut the number of PH vehicles and taxis in the city to reduce congestion. However, Karhoo maintains that using taxis and PH to augment public transport would provide a much more substantive solution. Collecting data about travellers’ habits, empty and occupied vehicles etc will settle the argument for good, claims Karhoo.

In its submission Karhoo said:

“The use of technology to provide data that could provide visualisation and other tools to identify the impact of taxi and PH on traffic flows, congestion and even pollution appears not really to have been considered yet we are in an age and in an industry where technology is ubiquitous. We would point to the TPEP/LPEP75 data that is publicly available to anyone in New York City (NYC).”

Karhoo Co-CEO Nicolas Andine said:

“New York has led the way on this. By making its data publicly available, The Big Apple was able to see traffic flows in real time showing them how improvements could be made.

“By following New York’s lead and seizing this opportunity, London can quickly become smarter, safer and healthier and see the untapped benefits of greater use of taxis and private hire.

“We look forward to working with authorities on this important issue.”