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May 22, 2019

TfL to use depersonalised Wi-Fi data to better Tube services

Transport for London (TfL) in the UK has announced plans to utilise Wi-Fi connection data to improve passenger experience on the London Underground.

Transport for London (TfL) in the UK has announced plans to utilise Wi-Fi connection data to improve passenger experience on the London Underground.

The Wi-Fi data will be used to determine how passengers navigate around the network and provide targeted information about potential congestion and delays.

The data procurement will begin on 8 July and will encompass 260 Wi-Fi enabled London Underground stations.

An in-house built TfL system will be used to depersonalise this data.

Subsequently, the data will be analysed to gain real-time deeper insights about the flow of passengers through stations or interchanging between services.

As part of the programme, TfL will also obtain a detailed digital map of all London Underground stations to identify the locations of Wi-Fi routers to gain near-to-accurate information.

Currently, the local transport body uses data procured from ticketing systems to understand passenger flows.

TfL chief data officer Lauren Sager Weinstein said: “The benefits this new depersonalised dataset could unlock across our network, from providing customers with better alerts about overcrowding to helping station staff have a better understanding of the network in near-real time, are enormous.

“By better understanding overall patterns and flows, we can provide better information to our customers and help us plan and operate our transport network more effectively for all.”

The latest move follows a four-week long pilot study conducted in 2016 when TfL tested Wi-Fi data collection technology across 54 stations within Zones 1-4.

Its benefits will include enabling passengers to better plan their journeys by offering crowding data through the TfL website, as well as warnings about possible congestion at station platforms and ticket counters.

TfL also said that passengers who do not wish for their Wi-Fi connection data to be collected should turn off their Wi-Fi while using Tube services.

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