Delivering Better Transport with Big Data

Our purpose at TfL is to keep London working and growing and make life better. We must plan ahead to meet the challenges of a growing population, unlock economic development and growth and meet the rising expectations of our customers and users. Translating our vast amounts of data into intelligence to drive improvement helps us to do this.

Millions of public transport and road journeys are made every day offering vast quantities of information. For example, there are nineteen million daily ‘taps’ captured through our ticketing system alone. We create 5.2 billion records through our 15,000 traffic signal loop detectors, and huge quantities of data from our other sensors and signals.

Our recent WiFi data collection pilot investigated how depersonalised devices could be used to understand how people navigate the London Underground network. The data collected was depersonalised, so that no individuals could be identified, and no browsing data was collected from devices. By using this data, TfL was able to get a much more accurate understanding of how people move through stations, interchange between services and how crowding develops.

Our challenge is to transform all of this information into data tools we use to run and plan our network, and to provide the best service to our customers.

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