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How smart is your city?

Putting a value on TfL’s open data policy

Hate having a long wait for the next bus? Want to avoid the road works? If you’re travelling around London, chances are you’re heavily relying on an app or website to work out your best route and check for delays.

That’s where Transport for London’s open data policy comes in. They release a huge amount of data around timetables and service status, free of charge for anyone to use. The upside for the commuter and passenger seems obvious – stress-free journeys to work, play and home.

London and the UK have earned a reputation as a leader in open data and the digital economy. But what is the value that open data can bring to London’s economic and social aspirations? We got our economists and public sector team together to investigate.

Keeping London moving

TfL is the organisation responsible for keeping our capital city moving. Since it launched its open data policy ten years ago, TfL has been working with a range of professional and amateur developers, from start-ups to global innovators, to deliver the product customers want. Some hard-hitting numbers:

  • 13,000 developers now have access to over 80 data feeds
  • There’s nearly 750 apps powered by TfL data used by 42 per cent of Londoners
  • 89 per cent of Londoners use TfL’s website

Our researchers found a range of benefits of releasing this data, from simply saving passengers time, promoting the Mayor’s active London agenda encouraging cycling or walking where possible, to improving safety by ensuring people aren’t waiting for long periods in quiet times.

“With over 31 million journeys made in London every day, it is vital that people have the right travel information readily available to help them. What are less well understood are the economic value and social benefits, which is why we asked Deloitte to undertake an independent review, finding positive outcomes for customers, road users, businesses and TfL itself.”

Vernon Everitt, Managing Director, Customers, Communication and Technology Transport for London

Open data for good

But the benefits of open data go far beyond a happy commute home. Our research showed the potential economic benefits to be worth £130m every year to the London economy. That’s through saving time for passengers, supporting innovation and creating jobs.

The data creates important commercial opportunities for third party developers, helping them grow revenues, supporting many small and medium-sized businesses.

So what’s next? At this year’s London Tech Week, London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced plans to support the vision of London as the world’s smartest city[1]. The Mayor is committed to opening up the capital’s data to help drive better decision-making throughout London.

At Deloitte, we believe cities need to make the most of data, in particular its ability to design better services for citizens and break down barriers to the future of transport and mobility. We’re working with UK and global cities to use data to keep pace with rapid urbanisation, population growth and enable innovation.

Simon Dixon, Deloitte Lead Client Service Partner for Transport for London, concludes: Deloitte is pleased to demonstrate how London has led the global movement for adoption of open data, benefiting London by £130m each year. This is one of the reasons why London is recognised as a global leader for innovation in the Deloitte City Mobility Index.[2]

[1] Moving beyond just connected infrastructure and smarter things, the smart cities of tomorrow engage governments, citizens, visitors, and businesses in an intelligent, connected ecosystem. The goal: better city services and a higher quality of life. This will enhance citizens’ experience and city decision-making using data, digital, and (user) design.

[2] The Deloitte City Mobility Index goes beyond present-day transportation issues and looks to the future by offering a comprehensive review of key aspects of mobility in cities around the world. The Index sets out to create a new and better way for city officials, transport operators and public planners to gauge the readiness of their transport networks to embrace the rapid changes occurring in the transportation ecosystem, known as the Future of Mobility.


Mark Smith

Senior Public Affairs Manager

+44 (0)20 7007 7082

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