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The Problem with Smart Mobility (and a User-Centric Solution)


Handdrawn graph on a piece of notebook paper with a pencil, another book and a ruler lying nearby

These days it’s nearly impossible to talk about mobility data without mentioning data protection. Mobility users, businesses and governments alike are rightfully concerned about how, by whom and for what purposes the data they generate is being evaluated. At the same time, existing regulation surrounding data protection – a sector still in its infancy – is often not only unnecessarily burdensome or confusing to users, but also blocks innovation.


That’s where well-organized data governance comes into play. The European Commission recently released a communication outlining their mission to “put EU transport on track for the future.” Like Trafi, the EC also believes that “digitalization will become an indispensable driver for the modernization of the entire (transport) system”. The communication goes on to highlight the importance of exchanging and giving access to data and ensuring “key digital enablers” are in place across the transport industry. At Trafi, we applaud these developments. In fact, by building upon the EC’s vision and incorporating additional recommendations from the European Data Protection Board, we believe it’s possible to go even further in addressing the tradeoff between protecting individual privacy and ensuring that value can be extracted from mobility data. As such, we’re proposing a user-centric solution.


We’re proposing a new data protection framework called User-Centered Trust

This framework is based on:

  1. Putting the individual at the center of control

  2. Key points of proposed technical measures by the EDPB

  3. The inclusion of an independent, trusted intermediary, as highlighted in the proposal of the Data Governance Act

Following these main points would let users gain unprecedented transparency and control over their data and help to build trust. After gaining trust from users, organizations are poised to be in a better position to innovate and drive sustainable change. Defining the privacy/innovation tradeoff, something no one has effectively managed to do thus far, is made possible under this framework.


We’re excited to announce that at the beginning of 2021, we’ll be publishing an in-depth white paper that examines our proposed framework in detail.


We hope the white paper will provide insights that change the way you think about mobility data sharing in a future context.


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