Transport for London (TfL) has said it may monitor mobile phones during the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London, to help it track the movement of huge numbers of people around the city.
In an exclusive interview with V3, Mark Evers, director of Games Transport at TfL, said the organisation was still considering whether it should collect aggregated and anonymised data from mobile phones, explaining such an initiative had been trialled previously in London on St Patrick's Day.
"Such data could be useful from a planning perspective and as a real-time monitoring tool as well," said Evers.
However, Evers said it was important it achieved a balance between gaining the right amount of useful information on the public's whereabouts, and avoiding overloading itself with too many data sources, many of which would not be used.
He explained that beyond possible mobile data, TfL will be tracking multiple data sources during the Games, including Oyster Card information, although this is unlikely to be monitored in real time.
"The sheer volume of Oyster Card data means it is difficult for it to be analysed in real-time, but it can be used to make sure the modelling we do of the transport system is actually happening," he said.
"If it's not, we can change our operations strategy in the following days."
Evers added that the analytics system used to monitor Oyster Cards has already been trialled, and will be trialled again next week.
Other information that TfL will monitor includes CCTV footage and data from traffic stewards lining the streets.
The number of CCTV cameras in London will be increased, although Evers could not say by how much. However, some of the CCTV cameras installed for the Games will be taken down afterwards, as they will simply not be needed.
"We are not increasing the amount of CCTV on the public transport network as we are comfortable with the amount we have already," he said.
"But additional CCTV cameras will be put on the Olympic route network, as it is critically important to keep the vehicles on the stretch of London moving during the Games."
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