36 million journeys are made through London’s Blackwall Tunnel every year making it one of the busiest and most congested sections of London’s road network. It is also one of the worst locations in the city for breakdowns which cause nearly 400 hours of delays and cost Londoners almost £7m in wasted time. TfL’s Travel Demand Management Team reviewed historical data on breakdowns in the tunnel and found that vehicles running out of petrol were one of the highest frequency causes.
In order to target this hyper local problem, we partnered with Waze and used their advertising platform to remind drivers approaching the tunnel to refuel. As a result, from end of May 2017 to end of November 2017, we saw 459 Waze users re-route to a nearby petrol station, drastically reducing the risk of breakdowns from fuel shortages in the tunnel.
Due to the success of the Blackwall Tunnel adverts, we are now looking at how we can use advertising in the Waze app to provide peak time congestion information to drivers and encourage them to avoid the busiest times at specific locations in order to have a quicker journey.
Digital technology and data are transforming London’s future. Just from our open data activity alone, there are over 600 apps in London being powered by TfL data and economic benefit of £130m per year in terms of customer, TfL and city-wide value being generated.
However, we want to further harness our data to make the capital a more healthier, liveable and connected place.
Alongside a number of other public bodies: City of London, Environment Agency and the Greater London Authority, we have partnered up with AECOM for their CityHack event that will take place over the weekend of 26th – 28th January 2018.
AECOM will bring together some of the best and brightest minds who are passionate about harnessing data and technology to develop a digital solution to those challenges each of us have set forth that will have a positive impact on London.
For TfL, we want to provide customers with the best information, tools and encouragement that can influence behavioural change towards more sustainable and active travel. We hope to encourage:
- Active forms for the first and last miles
- Better promotion of active travel routes
- Active travel as a more preferable option on planning tools
- Use of wearables
- Development of new complementary products that support active travel i.e. not just digital
Key details for the event:
- 80 hackers
- 30 hours
- 4 challenges
- AECOM will be awarding a £7,500 prize
Please see https://cityhack.aecom.com for more details.
We look forward to seeing the results of this hackathon across the weekend and will post about the event in February.
Start-ups and SMEs can bring lots of value to large organisations and TfL is no exception. Through our open data activity, there are over 600 apps in London using TfL data with an incredible 13,700 registered users of our open data. This has generated an economic benefit of up to £130m per year in terms of customer, TfL and city wide value through new businesses being developed by using TfL’s open data.
It’s vital that TfL continues to engage with the app developer community, academics and others through promoting the right challenges, access to the right people and tools, and continually seeking feedback from our open data users. I know we do this through several channels such as the Tech Forum, events and this blog but I’m hoping that we do some more. So, it was great to be involved in two events this weekend:
At TfL, we’re committed to engaging with the developer community to continue to help with the creation of innovative travel tools
Further to the Shakespeare Review which used TfL’s open data activity as a case study in 2013, we asked Deloitte to carry out a more comprehensive study on the value of open data to our customers, users and London overall.
There are more than 600 apps powered by TfL’s open data, and these are used by as much as 42% of Londoners.
We’re holding a consultation into our Transparency Strategy, and we’d love to hear from you about how we can improve.
The Strategy covers our open data products, so we want to hear from the developer community about our Unified API and open data. We want to know how we can improve our products to give you regular, up to date and useful information, as well as the formats in which this data should be published.
We’re also keen to hear how you think this data should be grouped or presented on the TfL website, and whether we need to give further support to developers, stakeholders and researchers who use it.
The consultation is running for six weeks, from 18 September to 29 October.
While we always encourage comments to these blog posts, to make sure your voice is heard visit our Consultation website to have your say.
It’s great to see so many customer-facing apps using TfL’s open data. With over 600 apps in areas of public transport, active travel and healthier streets, we are continually focused on releasing new data.
There are lots of people involved in the ecosystem, ranging from app developers and start-ups to accelerator programmes.
We are excited to launch our new TfL Oyster app on iOS and Android, which allows customers to top up their Oyster cards, purchase Travelcards and view their journey history. The app was launched last week, and has already received lots of great feedback. We wanted to offer you more insight into how we developed it.
The TfL Oyster app launched last week – let us know what you think in the comments section below.
An API – or application programming interface – is a set of subroutine definitions, protocols and tools for building application software¹. We already have a wide range of public APIs, which provide information such as line status, bus status and journey information. To build a mobile application allowing customers access to their Oyster card data through, we needed to write a new API to support this.
Back in March I posted this blog about Nitrous and their accelerator programme, which was focusing on some key transport challenges, and asking for applications to the programme. This short video looks at some of the participants in the accelerator programme, filmed at the event at City Hall on Thursday 22 June, as guests were treated to an evening of presentations and networking.
As you may already know if you’re following this blog, we recently released the TfL TravelBot on Facebook Messenger. If you haven’t read them yet, Steven and Charul’s posts will give you a bit of background.
Check out TravelBot here or search for TfL TravelBot in the messenger application. In this post I will explore the reasons for introducing a conversational bot and our learnings around the design of conversation.
Diverse backgrounds, cultures and lifestyles mean that we all use different words to talk about things. This can become frustrating when you’re trying to find something on a website.
In our team, we try to label things in a way that most users will understand, but are well aware of the fact that we will never be able to cater for everyone. This means that some users have to change the way they think to match what they are looking for.
The Blackwall Tunnel (A102) is one of the busiest places on London’s road network. In recent years, journey times have increased and drivers can expect delays to their journey at some times of day. We’ve released this data to the open data community, to enable developers to build the information into their products.
Our data shows the busiest times at Blackwall Tunnel so developers can include this information in journey-planning apps
What our data shows
*Follow this link to find the data.
1) The busiest time in the northbound tunnel on a weekday is from 07:00 – 07:30. In heavy traffic conditions, drivers’ journeys could be 15 minutes quicker if they travelled between 06.30-07.00 instead of 07:00 – 07:30.
2) The busiest time in the northbound tunnel on a weekend is from 13.30 – 15.00. In heavy traffic conditions, drivers’ journeys could be 15 minutes quicker if they travelled between 12.00-13.00 instead of 13.30- 15.00.
We have made this data available to the open data community so you can use it to create products which display the busiest times at the tunnel, allowing drivers to choose to travel outside of these periods or create products for planning quicker and more reliable journeys.
Tell us what you think
We encourage the community to provide feedback on our new data sets to help us continue to enhance and improve our open data products. Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or on our tech forum.