Open Tube And Bus Data Has Boosted London's Economy

By James O Malley on at

Cracking open transport data and letting developers play with it has boosted London's economy to the tune of £130m every year, according to new research.

The report, which was commissioned by Transport for London (TfL) was carried about Deloitte, and is essentially a big pat on the back for the open data advocates in the organisation that oversees London's transport.

It reveals that more than 600 apps are now using TfL's open data feeds - that's apps like Google Maps and CityMapper - and that these sorts of apps are used by 42% of Londoners. Overall at the moment, there are 80 different data feeds available - covering everything from the status of the tube to the locations of bus stops. And it is thought that over 13,000 developers have taken advantage.

So where does boost come from? Deloitte estimates that between £70m and £90m of the headline figure is thanks to time saved waiting around for buses and trains - as it enables people to plan more accurately. App developers have done well out of it too - as transport apps that use the data are thought to boost the economy by £12m-£15m every year.

London’s Chief Digital Officer, Theo Blackwell, said: “This research shows the full power of open data and how it can be embraced to improve our city to meet the needs of Londoners. The Mayor and I will set out a vision to put all forms of technological innovation at the heart of making our capital a better place to live, work and visit.

This tallies with what we've heard before - according to ticketing company Trainline, TfL's open data is some of the best in Europe. So well done TfL - give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back. Oh, I see you already have.