Born out of the London 2012 Olympics, our TDM team turns 10 this year. 🎉 To celebrate we’re taking a trip down memory lane to look at some of the projects and events that have helped shape the team.
What the TDM team does
The team are essentially a magnet that brings all TDM matters together for cohesive, positive outcomes. They work closely with operational and data teams to understand when and where customers and road users might have difficulty travelling on our network. This could be due to events, disruption and everyday congestion. They then work with communications and tech teams to deliver targeted travel advice, products and initiatives for customers. ℹ️
They also work collaboratively with third parties including event organisers, utility companies, developers, construction contractors and other government and transport organisations when it’s their works or events that are causing disruption or congestion. This ensures an aligned and consistent response to the issue. 👌🏻
The work allows customers (including stakeholders, businesses and freight) to make better travel choices which in turn helps run more reliable services and improve the travel experience.
Highlights from the last 10 years
🥇 London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games: we changed London’s travel behaviour to welcome the world
2012 was a massive year for London, but also for our team, as the success of our campaign for the Olympic and Paralympic Games led to our team’s creation.
We faced the challenge of media, spectators and athletes making millions of additional journeys on our network, on top of the already high numbers of regular traveller, business, and freight journeys.
Our TDM campaign saw 75% of people change their travel behaviours by retiming, rerouting, reducing or revising their travel at specific hotspots over the two weeks of the Games, allowing our networks to handle large numbers of people efficiently while providing a positive experience to customers.
Shortly after, we became an official team and started our quest to help combat disruption and congestion on our network. The birth of our team wasn’t the only success from the Olympics, it also started a long working relationship between TfL and freight industry partners.
🚴🏻♂️ Tour de France in London 2014: A first yellow jersey for the TDM team
One of the first major events we took the lead on as a newly formed team was hosting the arrival of the third stage of the Tour de France in the summer of 2014.
The third stage of the Tour expected to bring about major disruption as it finished in London on a Monday, just as the afternoon travel peak started. With over 200 bus routes impacted and over 1,300 roads closed, we needed to encourage people not to drive and to use the Tube instead.
We partnered with the event organiser to deliver targeted communications about the event, and the results spoke for themselves with Tube numbers up by 16%, road traffic lower than a typical Monday and a successful event delivered for the cyclists as well as the around a million spectators along the route.
This opened the doors up for us to support some other iconic London events such as the London Marathon, Ride London, the Rugby World Cup, Lumiere and more recently The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
👫 Crowding communications programme launched in 2016: Reducing crowding at key stations in London
In 2016, we started to try to mitigate recurring crowding at key Tube and Rail by generating awareness of the busiest times and encouraging travel outside of these in our Crowding Communications programme. We used insights and data to establish the most crowded times at these stations. This then enabled us to develop a targeted integrated communications campaign using different channels such as posters and social media.
This eventually resulted in up to 5% of customers changing their time of travel where the busiest times were displayed. It was one of the first of many congestion-focused projects our team has led on since.
🚇 Kennington non-stopping 2018: TDM helps customers navigate around works disruption on the network
In 2018, we faced one of our biggest challenges to date in the form of the Kennington project, where Northern line trains were going to be non-stopping at Kennington for nearly five months as part of the Northern line extension. This project was set to impact 46,000 customers each weekday, particularly around south London, and TDM was the main mitigation measure for it.
We delivered a detailed and targeted customer communications campaign asking customers to follow our travel advice to use alternative routes, stations, buses, modes and avoiding travel at the busiest times. And we saw some clear results – with 41% more customers using the Bakerloo line, 16% more customers using Brixton station at quieter times and 26% more customers using buses. Solid evidence of effectiveness of the initiative.
🦠 The coronavirus pandemic in 2020: TDM adapts in a crisis
2020 brought the Covid-19 pandemic, and a make-or-break moment for our team. TDM faced a new challenge – changing the travel behaviours of the whole population of London to ensure that customers who needed to could travel on our network confidently whilst also keeping to national safety measures. We revolutionised the way we worked to respond effectively.
We predicted future hotspots and reviewed crowding data in near real-time, allowing us to release communications quickly and accurately. These communications including targeting people who were travelling at busy times, to encourage travel at quieter times.
We worked with digital teams to release busyness data as innovative products and communications.
We also redefined our audience – businesses, such as those within the construction industry became a key partner for us, and we worked with them to encourage staggering of hours to help the network to cope.
The pandemic permanently changed how we delivered our projects- we began to embed data and insights into everything we did, from start to finish. Our team’s work was essential to the network’s operations and communications over the pandemic, and it changed how we functioned forever.
🚇 Northern line closure 2022: The culmination of all our learnings, helping customers
The Northern line closure was set to be the biggest planned closure on our network since the Olympics, so it was fitting that we delivered this on our tenth anniversary year!
Much like the Kennington non-stopping project in 2018, we had a huge task ahead of us as one of the main mitigation measures to a closure that expected to impact over 155,000 customers every morning.
Despite the unprecedented variability in demand with changing government Covid-19 restrictions, we were able to deliver a successful campaign, getting our customers to reroute, remode and retime enough journeys that the closure finished with no major issues.
One of the more impressive stats from our campaign is the fact that walking rose 14% and cycling trips rose 24% – a significant mode shift, especially given the majority of the closure was in winter!
Operation London Bridge 2022: The Demise of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
On Thursday 8 September, the world received the sad news of the passing of Her Majesty. This marked the official activation of ‘Operation London Bridge’, the plans for the State Funeral and associated events that a great many at TfL has been involved in planning for years. TDM held the pen on the plans for the external communications response, and has done so for the past ten years.
In its activation, we deployed the most significant customer and stakeholder communications campaign of the last decade, helping the millions who travelled to London to pay their respects during the mourning period and Londoners going about their daily lives. We provided travel advice and transport information through emails, posters, station announcements, social media posts, website updates, travel apps such as TfL Go, Journey Planner and Citymapper and through the thousands of staff and ambassadors on the ground. We amplified messages from our event partners to help the quarter of a million people travelling to the Lying-in-State get there and back with ease, and those going to watch the processions find their way to and from their viewing spots.
We remained agile throughout the period, adapting our communications to new events, and constantly ensuring we kept the customer front of mind. Never was it more important for us to provide clear, consistent and useful travel information. And the best measure of success we could have had was that transport was not the headline in this period and focus remained right where it should.
In the future
We’ve had a bumper ten years so far, and it’s not going to stop here.
- We will continue to push the boundaries when it comes to addressing recurring congestion on the network, especially as demand starts to return to a new normal
- Our work on disruption projects will remain a key focus for us, and we will also continue our role in the communications responses to short notice events impacting our networks
- While there are currently only a handful of TDM teams across the world, we are seeing TDM work popping up more and more outside of TfL. Our aspiration is for TDM as a discipline to become professionally recognised and accredited. We are already working with the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport to move towards this goal
- With the broad and diverse range of projects we have worked on, and the experience we have gained, we are already advising a number of global companies on their TDM efforts – we would like to continue to build this side of our offering