Tfl Holborn Station

TfL to track commuters via WiFi requests

Transport for London (UK) will track WiFi requests from customer mobile devices to better understand how riders travel through the underground Tube system.

The goal of the four-week project is to help the organization improve travel services, provide better customer information, and identify opportunities for additional investment.

TfL already uses Oyster smart card data to determine where customers enter and exit the system. The information gleaned through WiFi requests will help determine how customers get from Point A to Point B.

“This short trial will help us understand whether WiFi connection data could help us plan and operate our transport network more effectively for customers,” said Shashi Verma, chief technology officer at TfL, in a statement. “Historically, if we wanted to know how people traveled we would have to rely on paper surveys and manual counting, which is expensive, time-consuming, and limited in detail and reliability.”

The trial is currently planned for four weeks but could be extended if it proves successful.  TfL said that information will be anonymous and will not be shared with third parties.  Riders who do not wish to participate can turn off their WiFi connection before entering a Tube station. Link to full story in The Telegraph.

Photo credit: Oriol Vidal/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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