The second in this series of posts looks more broadly at Journey Planner, offering an introduction to how data is made available on the system, from the research stage through to release.
Because we aim to ensure the system is as accurate and as broad-ranging as possible, we have recently increased the frequency of our data updates, which are now up to five times a week.
Bus and Underground timetables are imported from internal systems and are subject to further processing to ensure they are correctly reflected in journey solutions.
This is the first in a series of posts covering new or existing functionalities of Journey Planner, with the intention being that users (including developers subscribing to the API) can get the best from the system. In this post I’ll be looking at Points of Interest (POIs) and how we aim to make this information as comprehensive as possible, as well as asking for your suggestions for any new POIs you feel should be added to the system.
We believe that the Journey Planner should not just be accurate, but tailored to the needs of people who use it. To support this we actively manage a detailed database of Points of Interest within Journey Planner, covering places people are likely to travel by public transport, or cycle to. This is a combination of a bulk upload, and points we have added ourselves.
Journey Planner includes lots of attractions advertised in complementary publications such as Time Out
Hello Folks, I’m Tariq Khurshid and I lead on the website’s Service Desk, Change & Release management. In this post I’d like to share with you the recent success we have had using “blue-green” release and deployment in the new website.
Blue-green deployment which we use to enable continuous delivery, is a design practice used to automate and improve the process of software delivery to the website without any outages for customers. It means that every change is proven to be deployable at any time. The fundamental idea is to have two easily switchable hosting environments to switch between. Now that tfl.gov.uk is hosted on virtual servers in the cloud, this is relatively easy and cost effective.
Blue-green deployment allows the team to develop software to a high standard, test independently of the live site and easily deploy to live.
8pm update – 13 June 2014
O2 have carried out a network update which should resolve this issue. To activate the update you may need to turn ‘flight mode’ on and off before refreshing the TfL website. After that it should work fine.
Please let us know if you still have any problems with this.
Reported Issues with O2
We’re seeing some issues when customers try to access our site over the O2 mobile network. If you are with another provider which uses the O2 mobile network you may have this problem too – for example on Tesco Mobile, Giffgaff and Lycamobile.
What’s the problem?
For some users the site does not load properly and key features cannot be used. You can tell if you are affected because the ‘menu’ button at the top of the page does not load and the ‘Plan a journey’ box will not open up when you touch it.
TfL website with O2 loading problem – note there’s no menu button at the top right
What should I do?
If you are being affected by this then using the link https://www.tfl.gov.uk will resolve it for now (the key bit being the ‘https’ part which switches to a secure connection).
When will it be fixed?
We are working with O2 to understand what is happening and to get it resolved as quickly as possible, whether that’s by making changes on our side or at the mobile network end of things.
Wifi usage is unaffected – the problem is only occurring when using a mobile connection.
If you are affected please let us know, we’re assessing how widespread the problem is.
It’s been just over 10 weeks since we launched the new site, and it’s a good opportunity to round up how the site is doing, what improvements we’ve made and our future plans.
How’s the new site doing?
The site is as busy as ever, with continued high usage from all types of devices.
Key metrics from March to June 2014
We’re seeing some high volumes of traffic on the site today (Wednesday 30th April), with 3 times the normal volume of traffic on average as people check out their travel options during the ongoing Tube strike.
This morning’s peak again fell between 7-8am (143,000 visits), although this was about 30 per cent fewer visits than during yesterday’s peak.
Hourly visits to our website over the last 2 days, compared to a ‘normal’ day and February’s strike
As you can imagine, it’s been very busy on the website in the past few days as people have wanted to find information about when the Tube strike would happen and what the impact would be.
Traffic volumes on the site
We’ll do a more specific post tomorrow about the traffic volumes and most popular content, but the headlines are that on Monday we received around 7 million page views in 1.6m visits from 1.3m unique users. That’s a little more than twice our normal daily traffic.
In the evening we received around 600,000 page views between 10pm and 11pm – which proved to be the busiest hour of the day.
Website traffic volumes on Monday 28th April 2014