FOI request detail


Request ID: FOI-2353-1617
Date published: 08 March 2017

You asked

Please reduce the scope of my request for question 1 to reports from January 1st 2015 to date, and question 2 to 1st January 2016 to date, and reprocess my request. Under your duty to provide advice and assistance under section 16 of the FOIA, please contact me to provide clear advice as to the number of emails you could provide should further cost issues come into play.

We answered

TfL Ref: FOI-2353-1617


Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 9 January 2017 asking for information about Driverless trains.


Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. I can confirm we do hold the information you require.


Unfortunately, to provide the information you have requested would exceed the ‘appropriate limit’ of £450 set by the Freedom of Information (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004.


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.


We have estimated that it would considerably exceed the appropriate limit to provide a response to this request. This is because we would need to run a comprehensive search on any and all emails containing the keyword “driverless” and/or “automated” over the specified time period and then manually review these results individually to determine whether each would fit within the scope of your request and then collate them accordingly. Such a broad and unfocused approach has again produced thousands of emails requiring a review and this process would considerably exceed the cost limit explained above.


It isn’t possible to provide a specific number of emails that would fit within the cost limit as this can depend on additional factors such as length of email chain and the number of attachments associated with the email. Our search would identify every email in which the term ‘driverless’ or ‘automated’ is referenced at any point, including within an attachment. This wouldn’t necessarily mean those keywords featured in the part of the email chain between TfL and “the Office of Mayor for London” and also not even necessarily mean the emails/attachments are about the introduction of driverless trains. Therefore the only way to determine this would be to read though the entirety of all emails and attachments.


To help bring the cost of responding to your request within the £450 limit, you may wish to consider narrowing its scope so that we can more easily locate, retrieve and extract the information you are seeking. For example you may wish to refine your request to simply reports on this subject over a specified time period.


If you want to refine your request or make a Freedom of Information Act request in future, please bear in mind that the Freedom of Information Act allows you to request recorded information held by us. You should identify the precise information that you want as clearly and concisely as you can.


Please note that we will not be taking further action until we receive your revised request.


In the meantime, if you have any queries or would like to discuss your request, please do not hesitate to contact me.


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


Yours sincerely


Lee Hill

Senior FOI Case Officer


FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London



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