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Photo: Ali Balikci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Uber announced Wednesday that it's funneling $10 million over three years into a new "fund for sustainable mobility" to help address congestion, aid urban design, boost electrification and bicycle transit, and more.

Why it matters: The move arrives as some analysts and policymakers fear that the growth of ride-hailing is worsening urban traffic — and hence boosting emissions — and could be cannibalizing mass transit.

The details: Some goals for the Uber fund, the company says, include:

  • Advocating for congestion pricing in cities.
  • "We’re ready to do our part to help cities that want to put in place smart policies to tackle congestion—even if that means paying money out of our own pocket to pass a tax on our core business," CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says in the announcement.
  • $250,000 will go to the nonprofit transportation data organization SharedStreets.
  • They're also contributing to alternatives to car use, including a donation to the group PeopleForBikes.
  • TechCruch has a good rundown of the initiatives here.

The big picture: Fast Company's piece on the new efforts takes stock of Uber's wider evolution. Eillie Anzilotti writes:

"Whereas in the early days, Uber thrived by positioning itself as a luxurious counterpoint to public transit, and a more convenient alternative to car travel in a city by doing away with the need to search for parking, it’s now trying to position itself as one node in a city’s transportation fabric, and potentially one that can use its reach and revenue to create broader change."

Separately, SharedStreets announced that it's collaborating with Uber, Lyft and Ford. Via a joint statement, the companies say:

"The data sets pledged by the companies will provide the public and private sectors with new tools to manage curb space in order to reduce congestion and emissions that cause climate change; improve the efficiency of city streets by making it easier for everyone to get around; and save lives by preventing traffic crashes."

Go deeper: How Uber is making traffic even worse.

Go deeper

Companies deploy tech to prevent retail crime

Customers in a Home Depot in Pleasanton, California, in February 2021. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Retailers have a new edge for fighting theft: They're using technology to disable stolen goods — from iPhones to Black & Decker drills — and render them useless.

Why it matters: Organized retail crime has a considerable affect on retailers every year, costing them an average of $719,000 per $1 billion dollars in sales, according to estimates from the National Retail Federation.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
27 mins ago - Podcasts

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek does a podcast on the future of podcasts

Spotify on Wednesday reported significant ad revenue growth from its podcast business, as part of its quarterly earnings disclosure.

Take a listen: Company founder and CEO Daniel Ek appeared on the Axios Re:Cap podcast to discuss how the podcast business model is changing, why he's spending big on exclusive shows and his personal favorites in both podcasting and music.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan group reaches agreement on $1.2 trillion "hard" infrastructure bill

Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

After weeks of long nights and endless Zoom calls, a bipartisan group of senators finally reached a deal on "the major issues" in their $1.2 trillion "hard" infrastructure package, GOP senators involved in the talks announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: It could be days before the group finishes writing the bill, but the Senate can begin debating the legislation in earnest now that they have resolved the outstanding issues. The bill needs 60 votes to advance in the Senate.