Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the Royal Holloway, University of London 's online course, Using Open Data for Digital Business. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds Could you just start off by giving us a bit of an overview about TfL and the importance of data and working with external stakeholders? Yeah, so at Transport for London we make all of our data publicly available unless there’s a legal, commercial, or technical reason why we shouldn’t. We have over 11,000 people registered to receive our data. And they range from world-leading platform– technology platform organisations to individuals. And as a result over 600 apps have been developed to support Transport for London’s agenda. Open data– it’s gathering pace. The movement’s becoming more important. What were the origins, initially, of open data? Where did the movement start? Yeah, so at Transport for London it started around 2007.

Skip to 0 minutes and 53 seconds And what we found was people were scraping data from our website and using that to develop products and services. So we quickly followed the BBC example, whereby BBC was introducing to make TV listings available. And we thought we could do something similar with our timetables and other data sets. So we started to develop new data sets, or at least data sets that were consumable in the right format for developers. And very quickly we start to see new products and services being developed for our customers. I think there’s at least five or six key benefits. The first one would be transparency. For an organisation such as TfL by making our data available it’s transparent, it’s the public’s data.

Skip to 1 minute and 37 seconds I think the second advantage is by making the data available it allows the development of new products and services for our customers. There are 31 million journeys in London every day. People consume information through lots of different channels. It’s important we engage with customers through their channel of choice. I think the third one is it drives innovation and it also enables the development of niche products and services, because if there’s 600 apps out there powered by TfL data, it’s very difficult for TfL to develop 600 apps. I think the next advantage is the economic benefit to London. By us making our data available, it’s creating new businesses. And as a result new jobs are being created, supporting the Tech.London agenda.

Skip to 2 minutes and 20 seconds Open data– it’s very big and very important. If the concept or the movements of open data was to disappear tomorrow, what would be the impacts for TfL but also the user community? I think from a customer point of view 42% of London is using a travel app powered by TfL data. So our data is very important given the 600 apps out there. Customers would lose out. Clearly developers would lose out, because some of them have developed a business now, a commercial business, through the use of TfL’s data. And I think from a reputational point of view TfL making this data available is it is the right thing to do from a transparency perspective.

Skip to 3 minutes and 3 seconds And by not making that data available, I think that would drive some more inefficiencies in the organisation, because we’ll be getting more queries through about our operations. So Rikesh, we talk about the benefits of open data, but are there any cold, hard economic stats? What is the economic value of the open data that you publish? So there was a Shakespeare’s Review in 2013 commissioned by Deloitte. They used TfL it was a case study, and they indicated that the customer value is worth anything between 15 to 58 million pounds per annum– and that’s when we had about 150 apps powered by TfL data.

Skip to 3 minutes and 47 seconds Since then, as I say, we have over 600 apps now powered by TfL data, and the value, I think, is significantly more.

How is Open Data used by public bodies?

Open Data can be used in a variety of different ways, by different types of organisation. Let’s see how Transport for London, the public body that oversees London’s transport network, benefits from the use of Open Data. Rikesh Shah will give us some insight…

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Using Open Data for Digital Business

Royal Holloway, University of London

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join: