City Hall is examining whether mobile phone data can help transport planners and regeneration teams better understand the needs of London’s local communities.
Anonymised data from one mobile network, derived from location information every mobile transmits when connecting to a phone mast but which cannot be linked with any individual user, has been procured via Citi Logik.
Officials will assess whether it can help planners and policy makers better understand how local populations move around during the course of the day and where visitors to a given area originate from.
A greater understanding of such movements could, for example, aid Transport for London in designing local transport services.
Over the course of the one-month project, officials will also examine what the data reveals about the impact of major cultural events and whether it can inform policies aimed at supporting town centres and high streets.
City Hall staff approached all four of the UK’s major networks to work on the initiative, however only two were willing or able to make data available and one of the initially interested networks later dropped out.
According to a Mayor’s Question Time response published this week, officials will seek to control for any demographic bias arising from the availability of just one network’s data by calculating a ‘expansion’ factor in line with recommendations from the Department of Transport.
In addition, an equality assessment will be carried out to identify “which groups risk being under-represented or absent from the data to inform any further work.”
A full report on the project’s results will be published later this year.