FOI request detail

Tube Wi-Fi Data - Most Popular/Complex Routes

Request ID: FOI-1970-2021
Date published: 28 January 2021

You asked

Hi there, My initial request was rejected by TfL for being too costly, by roughly double the top amount, according to the response I received - TfL Ref: FOI-1645-2021. Accordingly, I have reduced my request by more than half so this should be within cost limits. I was also informed all the data is available so there should be no problems on that front. I understand TfL use Wi-Fi data to create mappings of the most popular routes used on the London Underground, as per the 2016 pilot document found here: So, could you please send me the following in an Excel spreadsheet, on separate sheets: - SHEET 1: The top ten most popular (frequently taken) routes on the underground in 2020 (January 1st 2020 to December 31st 2020/or latest available data) measured by the greatest number of individual journeys with the same Entry, Pass-through, and Exit – as defined on page 24 of this TfL file: - SHEET 2: The 5 most complex routes recorded between the shortest physical distance in 2020 – i.e. the anonymised traveller who connected to the most Wi-Fi traps (Pass-throughs) between the closest (shortest distance possible in tube stops/as a bird flies depending on how TfL stores the data) Entry and Exit. This is discussed on the 2016 pilot. If this is still too costly, for this second sheet could you send me the routes (Entry, Pass-through, and Exit) of the top 100 anonymised devices that connected to the most Wi-Fi traps on a singular journey (Entry to Exit) in 2020 (Jan to latest available data) instead.

We answered

Our Ref:         FOI-1970-2021

Thank you for your request received on 4 January 2021 asking for information about the Wi-Fi available on the London Underground.

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and our information access policy.

Under section 12 of the FOI Act, we are not obliged to comply with a request if we estimate that the cost of determining whether we hold the information, locating and retrieving it and extracting it from other information would exceed the appropriate limit. This is calculated at £25 per hour for every hour spent on the activities described. Section 12(4)(a) of the Act provides for the costs of complying with two or more requests made in a 60 working day period which are, to any extent, for the same or similar information to be combined. Section 12(4)(b) provides for requests made by different people acting in concert, or in pursuance of a campaign to be considered together under section 12.

We believe that you are working in concert with another requester that has also submitted a request regarding Wi-Fi on the London Underground which is identical to the first part of your original request regarding Waterloo Station. As previously advised, the information requested could take over 36 hours to provide. As stated in our response, there would be a vast amount of data to review in order to extract the answers to your questions, and no particularly easy or efficient way of doing this.

We are therefore refusing both of these outstanding requests under section 12 of the FOI Act. Please note any further requests that we receive within a 60 working day timeframe from you or the other requester may also be subject to consideration under section 12 of FOI.

There is a small team available to respond to these requests and the burden placed on them has to be balanced with their substantive roles. To help bring the cost of responding to your request within the £450 limit, you may wish to prioritise the information you are most interested in and make a single request, rather than several requests in a short period of time in order to make the best use of the processing time available to you under the FOI Act.

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely

Gemma Jacob
Senior FOI Case Officer
FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

[email protected]

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