TfL’s live bus arrival data helps keep millions of Londoners moving every day

11 June 2014  •  Author(s): Transport for London

Transport for London’s (TfL’s) live bus information API data feed, a free open data resource that currently powers over 60 of the most popular smart phone bus travel apps, is two years old.

In total 1,914 subscribers have requested access to this free open data during the last two years which, alongside app developers, is used by academics and universities for scientific research.

Live bus arrival information has helped revolutionise bus travel in the capital, taking away the uncertainty about when the next bus is due and allowing passengers to time their arrival at the bus stop to perfection.

With live bus arrival information available at all 19,500 bus stops across the capital, TfL research shows that around 13 per cent of all the 6.5 million bus journeys each day start with a passenger checking the ‘Countdown’ service. This is complimented by 2,500 ‘Countdown’ roadside signs, which now feature easier to read amber text on a black background that is of particular help to visually impaired passengers.

Looking at innovative ways to deliver live bus arrival information at a new range of public locations, TfL’s ‘Countdown’ Digital Sign service continues to expand and help to make London’s extensive bus service even more accessible for passengers. The technology uses existing IT infrastructure and display screens, making it ideal for doctors and hospital waiting rooms, schools or retail outlets. It is already available in locations such as IKEA Wembley, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal Borough of Greenwich offices in Eltham and Woolwich.

Large digital screens providing ‘Countdown’ live bus arrival information have already been installed at Vauxhall and Harrow Bus Stations, with Hammersmith to follow shortly. Additional sites are being considered following this successful trial.

Simon Reed, TfL’s Head of Technical Services Group, said: “Live bus arrival information has helped Londoners make the most of the capital’s extensive bus network. Gone is the uncertainty of when the next bus is due as our passengers continue to make the most of the ‘Countdown’ service and embrace new delivery methods such as apps, digitals signs and improved bus station information which are all enabled by the API data feed. These improvements in customer information are all designed to put passengers at the heart of the service we provide.”


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