Map and announcements
Request ID: FOI-2480-1819
Date published: 09 January 2019
I would like to request a technical map of the London Underground system, featuring switches and other rail-technical features of the network
I would also like to request the routine automatic announcements wich are being made when a train approaches the station, when the train is at the station, and when the terminus is reached, of all London Underground lines.
Our ref: FOI-2480-1819/ST
Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 17 December 2018 asking for a technical map of London Underground and information on routine announcements.
Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. I can confirm that we hold the information you require. You asked: I would like to request a technical map of the London Underground system, featuring switches and other rail-technical features of the network. I would also like to request the routine automatic announcements which are being made when a train approaches the station, when the train is at the station, and when the terminus is reached, of all London Underground lines.
Below is an outline of what routine announcements are made on our trains:
The following audible messages shall be given out to customers:
??just prior to arrival, the name of the next station;
??whilst stationary at a station, the name of that station.
??just prior to departure, the name of the line;
??just prior to departure, the destination and routeing of the train.
The following audible messages shall be given out to customers when appropriate:
??interchange with other London Underground lines;
??interchange with other TfL modes;
??key interchange with Network Rail stations;
??information on landmarks and local attractions;
??information on significant local events.
In accordance with the FOI Act, TfL is not obliged to supply the audio files for London Underground’s Tube announcements as the information is subject to a statutory exemption to the right of access to information under section 43(2).
In this instance section 43(2) has been applied as disclosure of the information requested would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of TfL and/or Global Services Ltd. The recordings in question were provided to London Underground from Global Services Ltd under a signed contract which contained explicit conditions concerning disclosure and distribution.
The contract specifies that the recordings are solely to be used for the purpose for which they were created and for broadcast on the London Underground network only. If TfL were to disclose these recordings in response to an FOI request, it would constitute an actionable breach of contract and would be likely to result in a valid legal claim against London Underground or the license to use the recordings being withdrawn, which would impose additional, unnecessary, costs. TfL wishes to protect its commercial interests and ability to participate in future commercial activity. The disclosure of this information would be to the detriment of present and future business activities for both parties.
The use of this exemption is subject to an assessment of the public interest in relation to the disclosure of the information concerned. TfL recognises the need for openness and transparency within public authorities and the degree of public interest concerning London transport announcements in light of the recent disclosure of iBus announcements. However, in this instance this is outweighed by the damage that would be done to TfL’s ability to use these recordings and any future contractual negotiations that may take place regarding the London Underground announcements.
With regards to the part of your request for a technical map of London Underground featuring switches and other rail-technical features of the network, in accordance with the FOI Act we are not obliged to supply the information as it is subject to a statutory exemption to the right of access to information under section 38. In this instance the exemption has been applied as disclosure of the information you have requested could cause harm and potentially endanger the safety of our passengers or staff as it comprises the location of key control points and features of the London Underground Network.
Disclosures made under the FOI Act are deemed to be a ‘disclosure to the world at large’ and whilst we make no suggestion that you would use this information for anything other than your own personal interests, it could be used by individuals who wish to cause harm or disruption to our customers, staff and network. Whilst similar information may have been disclosed in the past in response to FOI requests, the decision to withhold information which could be used in conjunction with other material to cause harm and disruption across any transport operator was made following a security review of information. Additionally in light of the current treat levels in the UK being classed as severe by MI5, the public interest in protecting individuals and infrastructure is very high and our upmost priority. Whilst we recognise that there are individual and personal interests in understanding the workings of the transport network, there is not the kind of wider public interest in the disclosure of this information that exists in disclosure of information
The use of this exemption in relation to similar information was considered by the Information Commissioner in Decision Notice FS50607218 which was issued on 17 March 2016. The Commissioner upheld both the application of the exemption and the balance of the public interest. We consider the same arguments apply to your request.
Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal as well as information on copyright and what to do if you would like to re-use any of the information we have disclosed.
FOI Case Management Team
Transport for London
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