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Urban Engines Launches to Fix Urban Congestion and Ease Time and Stress of Daily Commutes

Launching publicly today after more than two years of research and development, Urban Engines aims to make urban living better with software that powers the essential systems at the heart of every city - starting with transportation systems. Using spatial analytics and behavioral economics, Urban Engines helps alleviate urban congestion and ease the time and stress of daily commutes.

Cities are currently home to half of the world’s population, expected to grow to 5 billion people by 2030. This places an increasing burden on city transportation systems and their citizens. Urban Engines generates unprecedented insights, reporting, and graphical views displaying how commuters move within transportation networks across time and location. Armed with this insight, city transit officials can make better use of existing infrastructure, improve city planning and operations, and deliver shorter and more comfortable commutes for citizens.

“As urbanization continues to stress regional transportation systems throughout the world--and particularly in developing countries--we need sustainable, cost-effective solutions. Urban Engines' work offers potentially revolutionary solutions for addressing the complex issue of commuter congestion through incentives and data-driven insights,” says Shomik Mehndiratta, the World Bank’s Lead Transport Specialist for Latin America.

Urban Engines is already impacting cities and commuters around the world as the company has implemented its software for major cities, including Sao Paulo in cooperation with the World Bank, Singapore, and initial deployment in Washington DC.

“We’ve proven over the last few years that the combination of insights and incentives generated by Urban Engines can highlight congestion hotspots and shift supply and demand to make urban commutes better,” said Shiva Shivakumar, co-founder and CEO of Urban Engines. “We’re operating today in cities on three continents with millions of commuters making billions of trips per year -- and we’re just getting started.”

Comprised of a two-part system, Urban Engines software uses existing data from city transit systems and requires no hardware or other capital outlay. The Urban Engines system works by generating insights from spatial analytics to create a dynamic digital replica of a city’s transportation system. The software also helps cities implement incentive systems rooted in behavioral economics, which help increase commuter engagement and alleviate congestion during peak travel times with rewards for commuter shifts.

“Years of research at Stanford has shown that small shifts by commuters in the right places and at the right times can relieve bottlenecks,” said Balaji Prabhakar, co-founder and chief scientist of Urban Engines, and Stanford Professor and Director of the Stanford Center for Societal Networks. “With the launch of Urban Engines, we’re taking that learning to the real world and hope to impact the urban landscape at a global scale.”

About Urban Engines

Urban Engines combines insights and incentives to reduce urban congestion and ease the time and stress of daily commutes. Urban Engines harnesses the power of data analytics, behavioral economics and today's computing technology to provide cities and commuters the information they need to make urban living better. Urban Engines investors include noted VCs and angels, led by Google Ventures and supported by Andreessen Horowitz, Eric Schmidt, Ram Shriram, SV Angel, Greylock Partners, and Samsung Ventures. For more information, visit

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