London RoadLab – our street, your lab

This week we have a guest post from Rikesh Shah and Daniel Gosselin from our Commercial Innovation team.

We recently launched London RoadLab, a new way of working with innovators.

London’s transport network has been consistently delivering new technology and innovations. We are home to the very first underground railway and, in 1868, the first traffic light was introduced in London. We couldn’t imagine London without traffic lights now, but 150 years ago our roads were revolutionised by taking something used for the railway and applying it to motor traffic.

More recently, we have developed a world-leading contactless payment system, and launched our open data products. Our open data now powers nearly 700 apps, used by 42% of Londoners and has not only allowed us to work more closely with app developers, but has generated new jobs and enabled Londoners to plan their journeys through their channel of choice.

Technology continues to develop at a faster rate than ever before and it’s important that we continue to embrace the latest innovations to help us deliver better services for our customers. Following the success of open data, we wanted to explore how to work more closely with innovators to develop new products that solve our problems.

We have also been exploring what else we can do better and what problems we can solve. One of these is roadworks. Roadworks on our strategic roads have an estimated £2 billion cost to London’s economy every year, and, whilst we appreciate their importance in keeping London moving, we also know we must continue to find new and innovative ways to reduce the impact they have on the city. We knew we needed to find new ways to work with innovators to create useful and tangible solutions to solve this problem. We also knew it was important to offer unique access to our assets and expertise, and to be able to take the products forward at the end of the programme.

Sign up for RoadLab

It’s true to say that this area of innovation is new for corporates and the public sector. The value to innovators of getting to work with companies like TfL to develop something that solves citywide problems is significant, and we need to offer opportunities like innovation partnerships to enable us to deliver this.

Building on our research over the past few months, we have created a new process for bringing innovation into public sector organisations and working with innovators beyond a set programme. We are offering unique insight into TfL, providing expertise, data, and pilot sites alongside a programme of mentoring and business support from our partners at Plexal.

If you think you can make roadworks in London safer, smarter, or more inclusive please sign up today.

Help solve city wide challenges at City Data Hack (16–18 March 2018)



City Data Hack 2018 at The Urban Innovation Centre in Clerkenwell will bring together talented and passionate participants, mentors and challenge partners who are keen to transform the experiences of citizens through data and digital solutions. TfL’s challenge is to ask participants to come up with ideas on how to improve Travel Plans to help us meet our targets for increasing use of public transport and active travel (cycling and walking) in the city.


Future Cities Catapult have partnered with three organisations who influence the way that the city is experienced by millions in London each day — Greater London AuthorityTransport for London, and London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.

Challenge partners have set City Data Hack 2018 three challenges to be solved over the weekend, each with a strong social or economic focus.

Why are we supporting City Data Hack 2018?

Like Future Cities Catapult, we believe that collaboration with multi-skilled experts is essential for solving city problems — and that embedding data, analytics and AI into service provision will generate better outcomes for future generations.

Future Cities Catapult and Space Syntax’s Tombolo project has spent the past two years researching how public organisations are using data and developing products to help solve city data challenges. They soon realised that there’s a growing number of people with the same mission and that’s why they organised City Data Hack 2018.

Aims for the weekend

  1. Most importantly, Future Cities Catapult want to make sure that all hackers and mentors have fun
  2. We would love it if participants created something amazing, and we have a hunch that multi-skilled teams with the right mentorship will achieve a rewarding outcome
  3. Future Cities Catapult want to show other public sector organisations that events like this can spur on grassroots innovation and investment


The main purpose of the Hackathon is to bring together passionate people to tackle city challenges. But Future Cities Catapult are offering an additional incentive for your time. A chance to win up to £1,000 worth of prizes, which will be split across the winning team and individuals who take part in the weekend.

Plus, they’ll be offering individual prizes for social media and GitHub contributions across the weekend.

How can you get involved?

An overwhelming number of people have already registered their interest in the event but you can still take part.


There are a handful of places left for next weekend’s Hackathon.

Sign-up now if you would like to take part. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.


Future Cities Catapult are still looking for mentors. If you have experience mentoring Hackathons and would like to help guide participating teams to success get in touch with the organisers on twitter @tombolo_ or by emailing


We’re excited to be part of this event but Future Cities Catapult have also lined up some other amazing partners:fccpartners

If you attend the event, let us know your experiences in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

Waze partnership: Reducing congestion at Blackwall Tunnel

36 million journeys are made through London’s Blackwall Tunnel every year making it one of the busiest and most congested sections of London’s road network.  It is also one of the worst locations in the city for breakdowns which cause nearly 400 hours of delays and cost Londoners almost £7m in wasted time.  TfL’s Travel Demand Management Team reviewed historical data on breakdowns in the tunnel and found that vehicles running out of petrol were one of the highest frequency causes.

 In order to target this hyper local problem, we partnered with Waze and used their advertising platform to remind drivers approaching the tunnel to refuel.  As a result, from end of May 2017 to end of November 2017, we saw 459 Waze users re-route to a nearby petrol station, drastically reducing the risk of breakdowns from fuel shortages in the tunnel.

Due to the success of the Blackwall Tunnel adverts, we are now looking at how we can use advertising in the Waze app to provide peak time congestion information to drivers and encourage them to avoid the busiest times at specific locations in order to have a quicker journey.