New TfL app to help Londoners plan ahead and travel safely
With more Londoners returning to public transport as the Government’s lockdown restrictions are gradually eased and the capital’s workplaces and attractions reopen, ITS (UK) Executive Member TfL has released a new travel app to make it easier for customers to plan their journeys.
Services on TfL’s Tube, rail and bus services have been restored to normal levels during weekdays and near-normal levels at weekends.
The new iPhone app provides real-time train times in a mobile-friendly way and information to enable travel at quieter times outside peak hours to help customers maintain social distancing. The app also offers alternative routes and walking and cycling options. These features will develop further based on customer feedback.
Making travel easier for Londoners with accessibility needs is a top priority for TfL. The app improves accessibility information by including a ‘step-free’ mode to access easy-to-navigate views of all stations with street-to-platform accessibility.
It shows where step-free access is available in one direction and step-free interchange between lines and opens up more of London to customers with accessibility needs. Customers can also use the iOS VoiceOver and Dynamic Type capabilities to use the app.
The new app builds on recent changes to customer information, such as the return to normal service level information displayed on TfL’s service status boards and on-line journey planner.
With the vast majority of Tube stations providing free Wi-Fi and the recent pilot of 4G on the eastern section of the Jubilee line, Londoners will also be able to access TfL Go’s journey information while on the move.
TfL intends to release an Android version in the autumn, with further updates later in the year. New features will include live bus information, lift status and the location of toilets.
The app was designed and built in-house by TfL and uses the open data feeds freely provided to third party app developers and others. TfL’s online data portal is currently being updated to provide greater resilience and flexibility to developers to access and use the information in their own products and services.
Further datasets, such as better accessibility data which was developed for the TfL Go app, will be added to this portal later this year.
Heidi Alexander, Deputy Mayor for Transport said: ‘London’s transport network is central to life in our city and essential to our economic and social recovery from the pandemic.
‘We are helping passengers to travel safely around the capital by introducing a wide range of hygiene measures across the network, restoring public transport services to near-normal levels and creating more space for walking and cycling.
‘However, coronavirus will continue to have a significant impact on the way we move around our city for the foreseeable future and we still need Londoners to work with us for everyone’s safety.
‘This means continuing to maintain social distancing, wearing a face covering while using the network, avoiding travelling at peak times when you can, and walking and cycling where possible when arriving at mainline central London train stations.
‘The rollout of TfL’s new app will help Londoners by equipping them with the information they need to make safe travel choices, whether it be for work or for leisure.’
Vernon Everitt, Managing Director of Customers, Communication and Technology at TfL said: ‘This new app will help support our customers and London’s recovery from the pandemic as more people return to public transport.
‘Our services are cleaner than ever and running at near normal levels and we are offering a wider range of active travel options, including extensive new walking and cycling facilities. This app offers Londoners the information they need to get around easily, safely and reliably.
‘This new app will make it easy to travel at the quieter times, change your plans on the move should that be necessary and access information on walking and cycling routes. It will also make it easier for customers with accessibility needs to access as much of the network as possible.
‘Customers can also get helpful live information on the network during their journeys from our staff and from our website.’
Kirsty Hoyle, CEO of Transport for All said: ‘The availability of accessible information is crucial for disabled Londoners, for whom navigating an often inaccessible city is often fraught with challenges.
‘This app is designed to provide detailed information, such as the width of gaps between platform and train and, at a later date, the status of lifts. This will empower disabled people to make informed decisions about available travel options.
‘We are hopeful that this app will deliver real-time information in a dynamic and user friendly format that reduces barriers and increases independent travel.’
Adam Tyndall, Programme Director for Transport, London First said: ‘As more Londoners prepare to go back to their workplaces in September, the TfL Go app will help to put them in control of their journey by giving them the information they need to choose to travel at quieter times.
‘The more data Londoners have available in accessible formats like this, the more likely they are to have confidence as they return to public transport.’
During the peak of the pandemic 38 Tube stations had to close due to shortages of staff who were affected by coronavirus. In addition to returning its services to good services, TfL has worked hard to reopen most stations and over the next two weeks five more will return to use, leaving only eight remaining closed.