Proposed Tube strike – tools to keeping London moving

London Underground trade unions are planning a 24-hour strike on the Tube from 18:30 on Wednesday 5 August. If the strike goes ahead, there will be no Tube service from 18:30 on Wednesday 5 August until Friday 7 August. There will be no Tubes on Thursday 6 August. We are expecting a normal service to run on Friday.

DLR, London Overground, tram and TfL Rail services will be running as normal, though all of these services are expected to be much busier than usual and we have some tools available to help you get around during the disruption.

Using our Status updates, you can check on the status of all modes of transport. Here you can see the Traffic status with detailed info

Using our Status updates tool, you can check on the status of all modes of transport. Here you can see the Traffic status with detailed info

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Guest blog – Innovation in the City event

We’re delighted to share this post from guest blogger Paula White, who is a Software Architect with IBM. Paula lives in London and has a special interest in cities. Here, Paula shares her experience of ‘Innovation in the City,’ the first in a series of future-planning events which took place last week – you can find details of the next event towards the end of this post.

Last week I attended an Innovation in the City event with Urban Design London.  I had been really looking forward to the event and my team and I arrived with the supplies for the workshop to define challenges for housing, transport, planning and streets. The event was attended mostly by local authorities, housing associations, charities and TfL employees.

We heard initially from Steve Haskey, IBM’s Design Studio lead about IBM Design Thinking. The key idea with Design Thinking is to think about people rather than things, and to consider peoples’ needs. It requires empathy. Design thinking can be used in the design of anything, and part of the approach is to put aside constraints and assumptions.

This helps in creating something that is not only functional, but also makes a significant difference to the person using it. Even more vitally it can create real step changes in innovation. Tim Brown, an authority on design thinking, gives the example of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who with his vision of the train gliding through the landscape, being part of an integrated transport system and of real service to society, was a design thinker. Watch Tim Brown’s Ted talk on design thinking here.

In London, as most people will be aware, we are growing at unprecedented rates, with a population of 10 million estimated for 2030. The workshop was to be centred around questions of how our infrastructure will cope, and are there different ways to think about how we will adapt?

The Empathy Map and scenarios for 'Amy,' our fictional character, which got the group thinking about ways to improve her situation

The Empathy Map and scenarios for ‘Amy,’ our fictional character, which got the group thinking about ways to improve her experience of transport in the city

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Journey Planner – More options now available

From today you’ll notice that we’re now providing more options by default in Journey Planner.

In addition to the fastest public transport journey, we now also calculate bus only, Santander cycles, cycling and walking journeys. Through other buttons on the journey results you can access routes for full step-free access, least walking and fewest changes.

We’ve also fixed some problems people were having with planning from certain stations like Watford Junction, which stemmed from a data issue.

updates to JP

Journey Planner now offers more default options for completing your journey, with many more improvements to follow in the near future. 

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WebCAT – ‘The greatest map-geek invention ever’

Developing WebCAT, TfL’s new webpage for planners, has been quite a unique project. On one hand, this is a tool designed for a very specific audience with a specific purpose. On the other hand, we knew that there would be some interest from a much wider user group.

WebCAT is an acronym for Web-based Connectivity Assessment Toolkit. One of TfL’s responsibilities is to ensure that transport connections are taken into account when new buildings are planned anywhere in London. The planning rules require that major developments concentrate in areas with good public transport.

Developers and town planners are used to working with some indicators of transport connectivity when deciding what to build where. TfL’s Planning directorate initiated WebCAT in order to give information on these indicators in an interactive, graphical way.

Mapping websites that look at transport services exist elsewhere, but WebCAT offers something new. WebCAT is not a journey planner, and does not try to give information on the best way to travel.

The information on WebCAT comes directly from TfL’s strategic forecasting tools, and it's been called the “greatest map-geek invention ever”

The information on WebCAT comes directly from TfL’s strategic forecasting tools, and it’s been called the “greatest map-geek invention ever”

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Agile deployments to tfl.gov.uk – a visual summary

Building on the recent ‘Agile continuous delivery in the cloud’ 4-part series on this blog, this post summarises our approach to agile deployments to tfl.gov.uk.

I was recently in a meeting explaining our release and deployment process to some internal stake-holders and found that sometimes a picture really can say a thousand words, and a visual representation can describe the topic nicely. So this post will be short and sweet, and I’ll let the image below do the talking.

Let’s quickly consider getting products to market; in our context this means new features, enhancements, and updates to the website – doing the right thing, in the right way, over and over, continuously improving tfl.gov.uk.

Our ethos of 'doing the right thing, in the right way, over and over, continuously improving tfl.gov.uk' explained

Our ethos of ‘doing the right thing, in the right way, over and over, continuously improving tfl.gov.uk’ explained

If you have any questions, queries or feedback on this or any of our 4-part series on Agile continuous delivery in the cloud, please do leave a comment below. Thanks.

Tube strike: Digital tools to help you

RMT, Unite and TSSA members are planning 24-hour strike action on the Tube from 18:30 on Wednesday 8 July, and ASLEF drivers are also planning 24-hour strike action on the Tube from 21:30 on Wednesday 8 July.

If the strike goes ahead, there will be no Tube service from late afternoon on Wednesday 8 July and no Tube service at all on Thursday 9 July. DLR, London Overground and TfL Rail staff are not on strike.

TfL Bus Alerts is one of several real-time Twitter feeds that can help you get around during the strike

TfL Bus Alerts is one of several real-time Twitter feeds that can help you get around during the strike

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Ruislip Lido Railway on Journey Planner

Just as summer has finally arrived, Ruislip Lido Railway and the associated places of interest are now available in our Journey Planner solutions. This means that it’s possible to plan a journey from anywhere in London to any of the Lido Railway stations. Journey Planner will give you detailed instructions about the train service. That is, the train to catch as well as accessibility and ticket information. You can literally “catch the big train, to the little train!”

The railway operates mainly weekends and throughout the summer. It is the longest narrow (12 inch) gauge railway in Britain. The 120-capacity, fully-accessible trains run on tracks that loop around a 60-acre lake in Ruislip Lido. We believe that it is important to keep in touch with the communities that use our services, offering journey solutions to popular destinations.

Ruislip Lido Railway and the associated places of interest are now available in our Journey Planner solutions.

Ruislip Lido Railway and the associated places of interest are now available in our Journey Planner solutions.

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