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WiFi data could transform Tube travel

A WiFi data collection pilot has revealed how journeys could be improved across the Tube.

The four-week TfL pilot, which ran between November and December last year, studied how depersonalised WiFi connection data from customers' mobile devices could be used to better understand how people navigate the London Underground network.

It focused on 54 stations in Zones 1-4 and saw more than 509 million depersonalised 'probing requests', or pieces of data, collected from 5.6 million mobile devices making around 42 million journeys. These trips were studied by TfL's in-house analytics team to help understand what customers were doing at particular points in their journey - such as entering or exiting a station, changing between lines or just passing through a station while on a train.

By using this data, TfL can get a more accurate picture of how people move through stations and change between services, and how crowding develops.

TfL is now working with the Information Commissioner's Office, privacy campaigners and consumer groups to see how the data collection could be carried out on a permanent basis.

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