Archived: Website stats – Big numbers getting bigger

TfL’s Web Analysts look at how weather events and changing technology are impacting site traffic

An analyst likes unusual numbers – especially big ones, and a couple of what we call ‘weather events’ provided us with plenty of excitement in 2013. In October, the stormy weather saw record visits to TfL’s mobile website as commuters braved the adverse conditions to make their way to work. As those on the move sought out the latest travel information, nearly 730,000 visits were made to the mobile site on Monday October 28th, compared to 156,000 the previous Monday.

Looking back a little further, we had a record-breaking month in January 2013 as snow caused disruption to much of the country’s travel network . As the snow started to fall on January 18th, the desktop site was visited over a million times between 10am and 6pm – nearly 4 times the usual Friday traffic and TfL’s websites overall received nearly 5 million more visits during the month compared to the previous January (22m vs 17.3 m).

Visits to TfL's  mobile website 2013
October 28th 2013 saw nearly 730,000 visits to the TFL website

The year-on-year increase in traffic to TfL’s websites reflects how people are increasingly reliant on the internet to get around, and in 2013 we received over 5 times the number of site visits in 2006. To put it into context, that’s 256 million visits compared to just under 50 million.

Website Visits 2006-13
Webite visits increased from around 50m in 2006 to 256m in 2013

Another interesting part of the story concerns the devices our customers use to consume TfL’s content. Across our websites, more visits (55%) were made via mobile devices (including tablets and e-readers) in December 2013 than via desktop PCs. The proportion of visits via tablets rose from 2% to 6%.

Although Android now leads the smart phone market, on the TfL website Apple is king. In December 2013, 70% of all mobile visits to our main website were made via an Apple device, whereas only 17% were made using a Samsung device. Apple devices are used in about half of all visits to our mobile website, and 65% of all mobile visits to our Beta website.

Devices visiting TFL
More visits were made via mobile devices than desktop PCs in Dec 2013

With the consolidation of our desktop and mobile websites in 2014, we’ll be able to gain a far more complete picture of the content our customers are interested in and how they’re consuming it.

A key question for us will be whether ‘tube map’ continues to be the top search term for the ninth year in a row…


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