Transport for London
Transport for London (TfL) is a local government body responsible for the transport system in Greater London, England.TfL has responsibility for London's network of principal road routes, for various rail networks including the London Underground, London Overground, Docklands Light Railway and TfL Rail. It does not control National Rail services in London, however, but does for London's trams, buses and taxis, for cycling provision, and for river services. The underlying services are provided by a mixture of wholly owned subsidiary companies (principally London Underground), by private sector franchisees (the remaining rail services, trams and most buses) and by licensees (some buses, taxis and river services). TfL is also responsible, jointly with the national Department for Transport (DfT), for commissioning the construction of the new Crossrail line, and will be responsible for franchising its operation once completed.
The MIT Transit Lab has partnered with TfL since 2005, spearheading research on the use of data from the Oyster fare payment system to improve TfL’s understanding of how London’s public transport system is being used, how well it is performing, and how it may be improved. A continuing focus of this research has been the inference of public transport origin to destination travel patterns from Oyster data, which has led to the development of ODX, a tool for estimating aggregate travel on public transport, which is now widely used within TfL, as well as by other transit agencies in the US, including the MBTA, CTA and WMATA. Other MIT research also was instrumental in the expansion of the Oyster system to incorporate bank card and mobile phone fare payments along with Oyster card payments, significantly reducing barriers to use of public transport in London for many customers. Over the fifteen years of this research partnership, the research agenda has continually evolved to support the priorities of TfL, and has increasingly focused on the potential for new services such as demand responsive service, shared-ride and autonomous vehicles to improve the performance of the integrated London urban transport system.