The programme included:

  • Retro-fitting trains with data-loggers to capture sensor data from the trains
  • Designing solutions for storing and analysing this big data
  • A user-centred design process for developing concepts for using the data
  • An open innovation phase where we worked with digital SMEs to develop prototypes

We have analysed the prototypes and are now exploring how they can be used on the network.

Goals, outputs and benefits

We delivered a number of prototypes, benefits of which include:

  • Increasing capacity on the network by creating smoother, faster boarding at stations
  • Improving design decisions by providing a new source of data for crowding simulations
  • Providing customers with more comfortable journeys by letting them know which areas are crowded
  • Giving customers new sources of data about their journey

We also learned more about working with internet-of-things data, open innovation processes and data visualisation technologies.

Partner organisations and funders

Our internal engineering teams carried out the initial work, which was then supported by various partners. We partnered with the Open Data Institute who provided expertise and financial support.

We also worked with a number of UK digital SMEs including: Instrata, Conjure, Crowd Connected, ViziCities and Aiseedo.

We also shared data at a number of hackathons at the Transport Systems Catapult and Google Campus, and also through Innovate UK's IC Tomorrow competition. This meant we could work with over 100 more SMEs to find the best uses of the data. 

  • Open Data Institute logo Catapult Transport Systems logo


  • 2016 Rail Industry Innovation Awards: Highly Commended: Passenger Experience
  • 2016 UK Rail Industry Awards nomination: Design Innovation


For more information about the crowding indicators project contact