Public Sector

Using 120-billion IoT sensors to improve London traffic.

Mavis Cw 195482

Transport for London (TFL) wanted to use traffic data to meaningfully reduce road congestion.

Key Figures

15% Reduction in congestion in key areas of London

Project Date

December 2016

The Brief

Transport for London (TFL) wanted to use traffic data to meaningfully reduce road congestion. To make this happen, they invited Datatonic, and some of London’s brightest data teams to a week-long, traffic-beating hackathon.

The Data

Designed to gather data from all over London, TFL’s Urban Traffic Control (UTC) system collects car activity records via 14,000 individual road sensors located throughout the city. We were given 3-months worth of these records to create our model — totalling over 120 billion data points.

Our Approach

We began by building a live visualisation of driver activity in the city, converting TFL’s raw sensor data into common traffic engineering metrics — occupancy and flow, and using them to infer the volume, frequency, and location of traffic throughout the city, at any given time.


Next, we designed a deep learning model capable of accurately predicting traffic conditions 40 minutes into the future. We did this by identifying the traffic conditions associated with congestion, and using machine learning to understand and identify patterns in the vast dataset.

The Outcome

TFL now have a robust model for preventing road congestion, enabling them to proactively prevent congestion, quickly respond to road incidents, and coordinate the flow of rush-hour traffic on a daily basis — saving countless travel hours for drivers all over London!


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