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TfL considering alerting drivers to incidents via Twitter DMs

Date: 09 June 2016   |   Author: Daniel Puddicombe

Transport for London is looking into alerting drivers to incidents via Twitter direct messages and instant notifications.

London's transport body and the social media platform today (9.6.15) announced a trial whereby anyone who follows four TfL Twitter rail and underground feeds (London Overground, TfL Rail, Central Line and District Line) will be able to opt-in to receive instant notifications about delays. 

A Transport for London spokesman told BusinessCar it is "interested in covering roads in the future [with the feeds]". 

"We only have one [roads] feed at the moment, so we would have to work out how to target the right updates for the right people as we don't want to constantly send south London updates for those in north London," the spokesman added. 

Currently, obtaining live travel information via Twitter means having to visit the relevant account or searching through a timeline for the latest tweets. 

To opt in, users will need to visit and select the lines for which they would like information for. They can also tailor their notifications by selecting the time periods for which they would like to receive alerts for which TfL said would avoid unnecessary alerts.

Twitter and TfL claimed this trial is the first of its kind to provide live travel information, and depending on feedback, the scheme could be extended to other TfL Twitter feeds such as buses and trams in the future.

"Getting the latest travel information direct to customers when and where they want it is key to enabling them to avoid delays," said Phil Young, head of online at TfL. "Millions of Londoners use apps powered by our free open data, alongside our website, to check the Tube, find a bus or see how the roads are running and this world-first partnership with Twitter is a fantastic way of ensuring our data helps keep our customers informed."

Last December, Transport for London announced it would trial taxi-top digital advertising boards that display traffic information in an attempt to reduce congestion.

The messages aim to inform road users of traffic levels at 40 to 50 areas where there are known to be traffic delays, however, TfL said it hoped that in the future the technology could provide frequent updates on incidents across the capital's road network.