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.
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.
What our data shows
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.
We recently launched our first ever Chatbot – the “TfL TravelBot” on Facebook, which uses artificial intelligence to help answer customer queries expressed in everyday language. The bot was launched just two weeks ago and we have already received lots of great feedback. We wanted to offer you more insight into the thinking behind the TravelBot, and shed some light on how we developed it.
Why the TfL TravelBot?
Millions of people already use our website to help them get around London, and we’re constantly seeking new channels to make the process even easier. Research indicates that more than half of the world’s population is now online, and more than 50% of those online are active social media users*. Facebook is comfortably the biggest social media platform, and hence we wanted to take the opportunity to provide them with information via their channel of choice.
Instant messaging has emerged as the primary platform for communication these days**. With the advent of digital solutions making it easier to provide conversational platform, we felt it was the right time for us to enter the world of bots. We pride ourselves on being early adopters of technology, and wanted to leverage the potential of existing solutions to come up with a product which is one of the first of its kind in the world of travel.
How was it made?
We designed the logic behind the chatbot and it is hosted in the cloud. Every customer message passes through our logic, and the bot then seeks to deliver the best response. We use artificial intelligence enabled by the machine-learning framework to process the customer messages (Natural Language Processing). It works by understanding intent rather than phrases. Once the message is processed, the bot replies with either a response from our unified API or a friendly retort. The bot is intelligent and has the potential to learn over time.
How does it help?
Apart from being the channel of choice for receiving information, our bot will help the customers in many ways. It will help our customers get the information in the quickest possible time with a 100% response rate. For instance, queries like ‘When is my next bus due?’ can be easily automated, saving customers time and meaning they don’t need to wait for a customer services agent to get a response. In the case of more complex queries, the chatbot can prompt you to speak with an agent.
As a business, this frees up the time of our customer service agents and helps them focus on more complex customer queries. We are also be able to handle many more queries in the same time, therefore improving our response rate.
We’re constantly looking for feedback to improve our products. If you haven’t it tried yet, search for ‘TfL TravelBot’ on the Facebook Messenger app or go to http://m.me/tfltravelbot on your desktop/laptop. More details on how to use the bot can be found in our previous blog.
Please keep your feedback coming in the comments section below. We know there are more things you would like us to include, and we’re really keen to hear from you.
It was great to be part of London Tech Week through the excellent Hack Day on Friday June 16, put together by the teams at Ticketmaster and Transport for London. With over 600 apps powered by our data in the market place, I always look forward to these events as it allows me to raise awareness of TfL’s open data approach providing the opportunity for organisations and individuals to develop their own creative solutions.
This has helped to form new businesses, create jobs and launch new customer-facing travel products, giving customers more choice on their devices. A great part of this process is that this type of event is open to everyone at no cost, so we saw students, corporate professionals, freelancers, academics and participants from other sectors.
As part of London Tech Week, TfL are teaming up with the market-leading ticketing company in the UK, Ticketmaster, to host a hackathon at their London HQ. Bring your ideas to life at the London Hack Day, hosted by TfL and Ticketmaster on Friday June 16.
We’re delighted to announce that the TfL Tech Forum is now live, and is ready for you to use right away. With more than 11,000 developers working with our open data to develop innovative products, the TfL Tech Forum will be a lively space where developers can connect with experts from the TfL Online team, providing a platform for discussion around all aspects of our open data and Unified API. With over 600 travel apps powered by TfL, it’s great to see new product features being developed, and a key area of focus is accessibility (see this previous blog) – we encourage you to develop new features for your product using our data.
We recently made available the route data for all our current Cycle Superhighways and the new Quietway 1 so developers can accurately map the existing cycle network in their apps, making it easier for cyclists to find and use these routes. The data will be regularly updated as more Cycle Superhighways and Quietways are completed in the coming years.
The promotion of these cycling routes is part of the delivery of the Mayor’s new blueprint for a healthy London, which will see increasing physical activity put at the centre of a wide range of GLA and TfL policy, setting out how it could transform the lives of millions of Londoners. The new route data complements the extensive data we already provide on cycling in our API and as downloadable files. Here’s an overview of what’s available.
London has one of the most accessible transport networks in the world, but whilst we have made progress on accessibility, we recognise there is an enormous amount of work still to do.
We are delighted that Nitrous London is shaping an accelerator programme this spring, focusing on some key transport challenges. Nitrous London work closely with fast growing startups bringing them to focus on a wide range of challenges in different industries from finance, transport to technology.
Nitrous London is looking for later stage start ups who currently or in the future can contribute to maximising capacity on the public transport network and/or across London’s roads. Ideally, the start-up would be open to using TfL’s data available at api.tfl.gov.uk
The programme supports sector agnostic companies to validate their proposition within TfL and the wider mobility market, including access to senior decision makers from industry. This will help establish product/market fit and pave the way for future collaborations.
I thought this might interest some of you and if it sounds like it’s worth exploring, please visit http://www.nitrous.london/programmes/#/mobility/ or contact Nitrous London at team@Nitrous.London for more information.
Applications should be received by Friday 24 March to be considered.
As our city grows, so does the demand for transport. This means that it can get very busy at specific times at the most heavily used places. Some customers have told us they would like more information to help them avoid the very busiest times and places when they have the flexibility.
Today we’re releasing new London Underground data to show customer volumes and movements in stations and train occupancy for a typical weekday, so you can see the busiest locations and times on our network. This will enable open data users to create features for planning quicker and more comfortable journeys.