April 19, 2016
The final stage of Bootcamp saw our 10 teams (all named after major Tube stations) present to a panel of expert judges showcasing what they had learnt about our methodology. In honour of all our guests’ Herculean efforts, below is a brief outline of each proposed tool for the job of improving TfL passengers’ experience – starting with the winner – London Bridge.
Throughout the day, this team took on the mindset of a ‘cautious passenger’. This person needs to plan journeys in advance and loves detail. Impersonating the mindset, the group created an app called ‘CATY Pocket: Caution and Thoroughness in Your Pocket’. This dynamic route planner learns the user’s preferences and automatically suggests easier, more relaxed ways to make a journey. A sliding scale of preferences allows passengers to choose an option that suits them, in this way reducing their anxiety on that day. The judges were gripped by this stress management approach to travelling, a concept which could potentially be scaled across other sectors, providing commercial benefit for TfL. As an added benefit, this approach could also reduce cost on signage and inefficiency caused by overcrowding.
The group that represented the ‘inexperienced traveller’ came up with ‘Journey Butler’. This app was designed for ‘Dean’, an anxious passenger who needs a trouble-free journey and reassurance he would always be on time. Using audio‐visual content along every step, the technology gives him free, detailed and clear directions, while advising of delays in real‐time. The app could be integrated with station staff and signage. If he wanted a fun celebrity guide, such as Stephen Fry or Brian Blessed, he would only have to pay a small fee.
The team named their solution ‘Step Change’. The idea was to encourage people to consider more active means of travelling around London. In case of disruption, SMS and Twitter alerts would suggest routes to alternative destinations by bus or, ideally, on foot or bike. In exchange for customer data the software would offer the customer notifications about how much time they had saved using Step Change and how many calories they had burnt. By instigating behavioural change, congestion would reduce, passenger satisfaction increase and the number of complaints decrease.
The team’s free app threw gamification into the mix. The app would allow customers to choose their preferred route and mode of transport based on crowdsourced customer data. The idea of the app was based on recommendations of journey options, e.g. a customer who has not recently or regularly exercised would be encouraged to opt for a healthier commute. Information would be pushed on a need‐to‐know basis and TfL’s customers would be rewarded for their choices via various games. For TfL, the app would aim to reduce peak‐time travel, ameliorate disruption and improve Net Promoter Score.
Team Farringdon came up with ‘Journey Buddy’, ideal for people whose main anxiety is getting home for their kids’ bedtime. ‘Journey Buddy’ offered parents control over the quickest route and mode of transport in real‐time. Data sources could include traffic, weather and crowdsourced passenger data aggregated and options could be displayed by a recommendation engine. There even was a reward system for travellers who managed to frequently get to the nursery on time. For TfL it could be another way of reducing overcrowding and pressure on the Tube network by promoting other options.
This team incorporated the ‘spontaneous’ mindset into their solution – the type of people who decide to travel from place to place in the spur of the moment. They enjoy the environment they are in, hence why this App could embrace the idea of community to make journeys more efficient and enjoyable. Staff, passengers and even buskers could join this community. Friends could update their whereabouts and ETA. Stations could become destinations with screens displaying content such as members’ photos and messages to each other. This app would use crowdsourced data to help the network flow, would breed infrastructure investment and could be sold to other partners – even other cities.
‘Help Us Help You’ by Team Baker Street is based on the nervous and inexperienced passenger who only seldom travels to London.This person has time to travel stress‐free and wants to understand the best route, time and cost in order to stay away from congestion. For the nervous passenger a proactive planner could be TfL’s solution. It would enable forward planning and would direct the journey maker to quiet carriages, all the while suggesting iconic landmarks to visit above ground.
Having a confident mindset, this team’s passenger wants to avoid the frustration of crowds, of tourists and that of barrier queues. They require timely and relevant information available at speed. ‘Virtual Annie/Andy’, a handy hologram, could offers just that. Picking up virtual you, the guide could whizz you around the station on a hoverboard to show the least crowded route at that time. Innovations could include traffic light systems and fast or slow music to match the customer’s ideal journey pace. It could mean happier customers, increased capacity and would be ripe for sponsorship.
This group had the task of encouraging the creatures of habit to try a different route that would be better for them. Using crowdsourced data, TfL would nudge them to alternative journeys for a better experience, being careful to offer hints not instructions, as the creatures of habit like to feel they are making their own decisions. In an ideal world, this solution would have a positive impact on platform overcrowding as it would smartly find a space for all. The solution could even result in fewer trains being required at less busy times.
Making cautious passengers carefree is a mission in itself however, team Westminster believed they had the answer. App‐based feature ‘GetMe’ could provide a prompt list (Get Me Home, Get Me to Work, Get Me to the Gig etc) and display the quickest route to one’s destination. It could be useful for the everyday commuter, the daytripper, the airport passenger and also for families, as it would promote healthy travel options in real‐time.
Travel with a smile. There you have it. Some fantastic ideas on the day and lots of strategic advice for our participants to take back to their own teams. Coming soon, we will be announcing details of the next #WAEBootcamp – stay tuned!