TfL’s open data boosts London’s economy

The release of open data by Transport for London (TfL) is boosting the city’s economy by up to £130m a year, according a report from business consultancy Deloitte.

This data – including timetables, service status and disruption information – allows developers and partners to bring new products and services to market more quickly, and therefore extend the reach of TfL’s own information channels within stations, at bus stops and online.

Deloitte’s research shows that by providing free, accurate and real-time open data in this way, TfL is improving journeys, saving people time, supporting innovation and creating jobs.

For example, the data allows customers to plan journeys more accurately using apps with real-time information and advice on how to adjust their routes. More than 600 apps are powered specifically using TfL’s open data feeds, and these apps are used by 42% of Londoners.

Through partnerships, TfL also receives back significant data that it does not collect itself, such as crowdsourced traffic data, which gives a greater insight into journeys in London and improves its operations.

Vernon Everitt, Managing Director of Customers, Communication and Technology at TfL, said: “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 travel around the city. This new research from Deloitte backs our strong belief that providing data in an open, transparent and free-to-access way can be massively beneficial for both London and the wider economy.”

Jeni Tennison, CEO at the Open Data Institute, added: “Open data is changing our everyday lives and how organisations like TfL work. In fact, data is becoming as important as other types of infrastructure, such as roads and electricity, which means building strong data infrastructure is vital to economic growth and wellbeing.

“The rewards can be enormous. For example, it’s been estimated that by using open data effectively, 629 million hours of unnecessary waiting time could be saved on the EU’s roads and energy consumption could be reduced by 16%. It’s great to see detailed in today’s report how, by investing in the provision of real-time open data, TfL has been able to save people time, support innovation across the UK, and provide a wider range of services than they could on their own.”

A separate report, released last week by the Center for Data Innovation, found that the UK is one of the most innovative countries in Europe when it comes to making the most of data.

The UK was ranked as the fifth best country in Europe for data innovation based a range of indicators including the availability of useable data, digital skills, and use of key digital infrastructure such as the Internet of Things.

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