City slicker: Data are slowly changing the way cities operate | Economist

WAITING for a bus on a drizzly winter morning is miserable. But for London commuters Citymapper, an app, makes it a little more bearable. Users enter their destination into a search box and a range of different ways to get there pop up, along with real-time information about when a bus will arrive or when the next Tube will depart. The app is an example of how data are changing the way people view and use cities. Local governments are gradually starting to catch up.


Nearly all big British cities have started to open up access to their data. On October 23rd the second version of the London Datastore, a huge trove of information on everything from crime statistics to delays on the Tube, was launched. In April Leeds City council opened an online “Data Mill” which contains raw data on such things as footfall in the city centre, the number of allotment sites or visits to libraries. Manchester also releases chunks of data on how the city region operates. …


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