Improving journeys by opening data: The case of Transport for London (TfL)

Merlin Stone and Eleni Aravopoulou in The Bottom Line: “This case study describes how one of the world’s largest public transport operations, Transport for London (TfL), transformed the real-time availability of information for its customers and staff through the open data approach, and what the results of this transformation were. Its purpose is therefore to show what is required for an open data approach to work.

This case study is based mainly on interviews at TfL and data supplied by TfL directly to the researchers. It analyses as far as possible the reported facts of the case, in order to identify the processes required to open data and the benefits thereof.

The main finding is that achieving an open data approach in public transport is helped by having a clear commitment to the idea that the data belongs to the public and that third parties should be allowed to use and repurpose the information, by having a strong digital strategy, and by creating strong partnerships with data management organisations that can support the delivery of high volumes of information.

The case study shows how open data can be used to create commercial and non-commercial customer-facing products and services, which passengers and other road users use to gain a better travel experience, and that this approach can be valued in terms of financial/economic contribution to customers and organisations….(More)”.