Between Friday 8 June 2018 and Saturday 8 September 2018 (inclusive), TfL will collect passenger numbers using several new pilot methods. This will enable us to identify which of the collection methods provide the most useful information.

We will not use the data to identify individuals, keep any CCTV images, retain personal information or monitor people's internet browsing.

We collect passenger numbers so we can develop better ways of modeling transport. We do this to forecast future trip numbers and predict how people will behave as they travel.

These models have to be accurate, and the way people use buses changes all the time. To make sure our data is as up to date and reliable as possible, we are constantly exploring new ways of counting passengers.

The new data collection methods

CCTV camera analytics

A small computer on board the bus will process images from all the bus's CCTV cameras using detection formulas and crowding data to count customers. It will only provide a numeric count of customers and will not retain CCTV images.


3D-vision sensors are fitted over each door and detect each customer as they get on and off the bus.

We will keep some video recording to make sure the sensors method works accurately. However, the video recording is taken from directly above passengers entering or leaving the bus so we will only film top-down images of people's heads and shoulders, rather than their faces. These recordings will be securely handled in accordance with our established CCTV procedures and will be permanently deleted after the trial has ended.

WiFi connection

When a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet has WiFi enabled, the device will continually search for a WiFi network to connect to. When searching for a WiFi network, the device sends out a probing request which contains an identifier specific to that device known as a Media Access Control (MAC) address.

If the device finds a WiFi network that is known to the device, it will automatically connect to that network. If the device finds unknown networks it will list these in your device settings so you can decide whether to connect to one of them.

When you are near our one of pilot buses (LJ16NNP and LTZ1387) and you have WiFi enabled, your device probing request will be detected by a processing unit on the bus.

Collecting these device MAC address connections may help us to better understand how many customers there are and how they are using our bus network. During the three months of the pilot we will collect device MAC addresses on the two buses listed below. All data collected will be de-personalised (pseudonymised) to ensure TfL is unable to identify any individual. We will not be able to follow anyone's individual travel patterns or access any other personal information as part of this project.

Your browsing history

TfL will not collect any web browsing data, or data from website cookies, generated by your device as part of this pilot.

Why TfL is conducting this pilot

We think these new data collection methods will give us a better understanding of crowding and collective travel patterns so we can improve services and information provision for customers. This may enable us to improve the operation, planning and provision of travel information on London buses. This is part of our duty under the GLA Act to provide safe and efficient transport services.

These are four ways in which analysing WiFi data could benefit our customers:

  • Customer information
    We'll be able to offer live information to help people plan their journeys
  • Operations and safety information
    Understanding how customers uses the bus network helps us to manage big events or disruptions more effectively, deploy staff to best meet customer needs and ensure a safe environment for all
  • Transport planning
    By better understanding how our customers use the bus network, we can manage the network more effectively, in real time
  • Prioritising investment
    By understanding how customers move around the bus network we can prepare for London's growth and prioritise the development of routes where they are most needed

Why we are using these new methods

Although Oyster and Contactless Payment Card ticketing data helps us understand where customers get on a bus, it does not tell us when a customer gets off a bus and how many customers are on the bus between each stops. That's because there's no 'tap-out' on buses.

Traditional paper surveys are expensive, only provide a snapshot of travel patterns on the day of survey and are unable to provide a continuous flow of information. They are also becoming less feasible due to the disruption that they cause customers. These new data collection methods may provide more accurate information to improve our services.

De-personalised data

We will not be able to identify anyone. We are trying to understand how customers as a whole use the network, not how specific individuals use it.

Data collected by WiFi recognition during the pilot will be de-personalised (pseudonymised) and encrypted to prevent the identification of individuals. The data will not be stored or linked to any other data.

As TfL will not be able to link this data to any other information about you or your device, you will not receive any information by email, text, push message or any other means, as a result this pilot.

Opting out

If you do not want TfL to collect your MAC address, you can either turn off WiFi on your device or put the device into airplane mode whilst using the buses taking part in the pilot. Once you have left the bus simply switch WiFi setting back on or turn off airplane mode to re-enable WiFi.

Requesting and deleting data

As we will not be able to identify individuals because we have de-personalised data, we will not be able to identify you and so we cannot provide a copy of the data generated by your device. Similarly, we will not be able to block or delete data about any particular individual.

Further information

If you have concerns about this pilot and how this data will be used, you can address them to TfL's Data Protection Office, Richard Bevins. You can email him at

You also have the right to raise any complaint you may have with the independent regulator responsible for enforcing compliance with data protection laws. The contact details are:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Cheshire SK9 5AF

Call 0303 123 1113 or visit the Information Commissioner's Office website.

After the pilot

TfL will stop collecting this data at 23:59 on Saturday 8 September 2018. We will then analyse the data to test how useful it could be to improve our services, provide better travel information and help plan for London's growth.

Once this process is complete, we will be able to decide what to do next and communicate this to our customers.

Buses included in the pilot

Passenger counting method Bus
Registration number
Camera LTZ 1389 55
CCTV LTZ 1388 55
Sensors BL6 5OYY 47
Sensors LTZ 1390 55
Telematics LK6 7CXT 222
Wi-Fi LTZ 1387 55
Wi-Fi LJ1 6NNP 507/521