About Us
Background

London has one of the most complex transport networks in the world. The purview of Transport for London (TfL), includes principal road routes, rail networks including London Underground and Overground, buses, taxis, trams, cycling provision and river services. In 2014, the system catered for 26.6 million trips per day on average - an 8.2% increase from 2008 – and is expected to grow by 5.5 million by 2041 [1].

Unfortunately, access to the transport network is limited for some of the most vulnerable groups in our society. 14% of users are classified as disabled and 11% are over 65 which is expected to grow significantly in the future. Research by TfL suggests that 46% of the public transport network was inaccessible for those with mobility impairments in 2014/15 which meant they faced longer journeys and some journeys may not be physically possible [1].

Tube networks can be particularly challenging for wheelchair users.

“Planning a tube journey when you have reduced mobility is a bit like running a small military operation. You need to research every leg of the journey beforehand, and probably need to call ahead, especially as TfL advises that you check the lifts are running if you need them.”
- Barbara Speed for CityMetric [2]

References

  1. Travel in London Report 8 by TfL
  2. www.citymetric.com/transport/what-does-tube-map-look-if-youre-wheelchair-1811
What we do

We are investigating the challenges faced by mobility-impaired groups when accessing the transport network by utilising mobile technology and the Organicity platform. Specifically, we are trying identify areas in London with restricted access and we hope to report our findings to authorities responsible for areas of difficulty, including TfL, Network Rail and London Boroughs. We are also aiming to provide users with improved routes. By mobility-impaired we are referring to any individuals who find it difficult to physically access the London transport network. This could include a wide variety of groups from the elderly and parents with young children to those with physical conditions.

To conduct this analysis a smartphone app will track the position of volunteers as they travel across the transport network over a 3 month period and allow the volunteers to give feedback/comments. We will then infer 'mobility black spots' and suggest improvements to interested stakeholders.

This real-time tracking of users marks a departure from TfL's current approach of regular consultations with stakeholder groups. Our innovative approach will augment and enhance that of TfL's offering quantitative insights on stakeholder network usage. Collecting data on stakeholders' routes may also allow us to crowd-source optimal routes which we can then feedback to volunteers to assist in their day-to-day travel.

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