The results of a TfL trial tracking the movements of mobile phones across the London Underground have been revealed.
The website Gizmodo has published what it calls “utterly fascinating” findings which explain how people use the network.
The trial anonymously tracked users’ mobile phone mac addresses in order to better understand the routes people took for the journeys – it allowed analysts to not only know the start and end points but also the routes people took.
One example was the journey from Liverpool Street to Victoria which showed that the most popular route involved a change at Oxford Circus rather than the direct journey using the Circle Line.
The trial, at 54 stations, collected data from people whose wifi was switched on, with the various hotspots around the Tube network used to pick up a phone’s unique MAC address, which was then carefully anonymised.
The report explains not only that the analysts were better able to understand people’s movements, but also how long they are in a particular place and where the busiest areas are. This, it says, means TfL can better deploy staff to where they are needed and even target advertising and therefore make more money from it.
The report suggests more widespread use of tracking across the whole of the transport network is needed, which is where a number of companies in the ITS sector who are experts in movement could certainly step in to help.