17:03 11 September 2017
Transport for London (TfL) has followed 5.6million phones via WiFi over a four-week period to understand what passengers were doing at particular points of their journeys – such as changing between lines, entering or exiting a station, or passing through a station while on a train.
TfL said that the data they gathered can help improve customer experience and could be used to sell advertising.
Val Shawcross, deputy mayor for transport, said: “We’re determined to use the latest technology to improve the experience of every passenger using transport in London, and I’m delighted the trial has been a success.
“The analysis of secure, de-personalised Wi-Fi data could enable us to map the journey patterns of millions of passengers and understand in much greater detail how people move around our transport network.
“It will provide real benefits helping TfL tackle overcrowding, provide more information for passengers about their best journey route, and help us prioritise new investment where it’s most needed.”
However privacy campaigners have expressed their concern over the system.
Renate Samson, chief executive of Big Brother Watch, told the paper: “Analysing movements of people via their device may provide unique analytical benefits but is still a process of tracking and monitoring as they go about their daily business.
"It is critical that the public are completely clear on what is being done, when, how and why, and how they can opt out.”
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