Improving customer experience while ensuring data privacy for intelligent mobility

Lead Research Organisation: Loughborough University
Department Name: Loughborough Design School

Abstract

The proposed research applies computer science solutions to an end-user-focussed challenge. The challenge is how to achieve an enhanced customer experience during a journey, through detailed knowledge of an individual traveller, whilst protecting the privacy of their data. As well as developing technical solutions to data privacy, this project aims to encourage passengers to provide this data by developing an evaluation framework to enhance their understanding of how it is used and how they can control it, thus maximising trust in the service. Currently, such a framework does not exist and this is an impediment to the opportunities offered by increased sharing of personal data, i.e. transport customers are, in the majority, unwilling to share personal data due to privacy concerns. The research findings will be applicable to a range of journey modes but the focus here will be on rail travel.

The project has been developed closely with the rail industry through partnership with the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) and the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB). In recent years, the availability of data in the rail industry has increased significantly in terms of timetabling, disruption and real-time provision to passengers. Currently there is little in the way of individual customer information but this is increasingly possible through smartphones and other mobile devices and will become more prevalent with the introduction of smartcards and contactless technologies. The industry's Rail Technical Strategy aims to establish rail as customers' preferred form of transport for reliability, ease of use and perceived value. Increased understanding of passengers through information such as their location, their plans, their mobility or luggage limitations, or where they are on the train would enable a more personalised service and an improved experience. The challenge is to assure customers that their data is being protected and used appropriately and that they are fully in control.

The consortium assembled for this project brings together the three academic disciplines required to solve this challenge: computer science, to develop the framework and technical solutions (University of Surrey and Royal Holloway, University of London); human factors, to develop the use cases, evaluate passenger perceptions and ensure usable solutions (Loughborough University) and transport systems to bring understanding of the data streams to be integrated (University of Southampton). To ensure the solutions are co-created with the industry and have a direct pathway to impact, ATOC and RSSB have a key role as stakeholders and on the project's External Advisory board, alongside other sector experts such as EnableID (Internet of Things and personal data), the Transport Systems Catapult (the UK government's innovation centre for intelligent mobility knowledge exchange) and ThalesUK (rail technology).

The objective is to develop a privacy evaluation framework underpinned by statistical analysis, data provenance and mobile technology. This framework will be integrated with emerging data systems being developed by the rail industry and also into a wider (sector-independent) framework being proposed by the Digital Catapult (the UK government's innovation centre for digital technologies). This will enable better communication to passengers as to why their data is needed and how it will be handled in order to increase trust and feelings of control, thus providing a virtuous circle of data provision, leading to enhanced customer experience and hence further data provision.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description We have identified the key person, task and environment factors that are likely to be influential in determining the 'customer experience' outcome when system failures occur in the rail service. For example age, gender, disability, length of journey, time of day, weather. This is based on over 500 reports of 'problems' for rail users over the course of a year.
Exploitation Route The findings could be used by the rail industry and their suppliers and assessors before, during and after system failures. By collecting information about the people travelling and the context in which they are travelling, more tailored solutions to problems could be provided, or more fundamental re-design could be planned, with the intention of improving the customer experience.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Healthcare,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Transport

 
Description Faster, Safer, Better: Boarding and Alighting Trains
Amount £52,432 (GBP)
Funding ID COF-PTI-05 
Organisation Rail Safety and Standards Board 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2017 
End 02/2018
 
Description TOC17
Amount £21,912 (GBP)
Funding ID RSSB/2528/5 
Organisation Rail Safety and Standards Board 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2017 
End 10/2018
 
Description TOCAbility Project 
Organisation Arriva UK Trains Limited
PI Contribution Influencing the design of a system for disabled travellers to store their personal information such that it is used to provide them seamless assistance support on the rail network, in order to improve customer experience
Collaborator Contribution Enable ID: development of the technical system. Atkins Global: project management of the implementation. Transport for London and Arriva providing the rail network access. Goss Consulting providing expertise on disabled travellers requirements. University of Surrey security of personal data
Impact Still in development
Start Year 2017
 
Description TOCAbility Project 
Organisation Enable ID
PI Contribution Influencing the design of a system for disabled travellers to store their personal information such that it is used to provide them seamless assistance support on the rail network, in order to improve customer experience
Collaborator Contribution Enable ID: development of the technical system. Atkins Global: project management of the implementation. Transport for London and Arriva providing the rail network access. Goss Consulting providing expertise on disabled travellers requirements. University of Surrey security of personal data
Impact Still in development
Start Year 2017
 
Description TOCAbility Project 
Organisation Goss Consultancy Inc
PI Contribution Influencing the design of a system for disabled travellers to store their personal information such that it is used to provide them seamless assistance support on the rail network, in order to improve customer experience
Collaborator Contribution Enable ID: development of the technical system. Atkins Global: project management of the implementation. Transport for London and Arriva providing the rail network access. Goss Consulting providing expertise on disabled travellers requirements. University of Surrey security of personal data
Impact Still in development
Start Year 2017
 
Description TOCAbility Project 
Organisation Transport for London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Influencing the design of a system for disabled travellers to store their personal information such that it is used to provide them seamless assistance support on the rail network, in order to improve customer experience
Collaborator Contribution Enable ID: development of the technical system. Atkins Global: project management of the implementation. Transport for London and Arriva providing the rail network access. Goss Consulting providing expertise on disabled travellers requirements. University of Surrey security of personal data
Impact Still in development
Start Year 2017
 
Description TOCAbility Project 
Organisation University of Surrey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Influencing the design of a system for disabled travellers to store their personal information such that it is used to provide them seamless assistance support on the rail network, in order to improve customer experience
Collaborator Contribution Enable ID: development of the technical system. Atkins Global: project management of the implementation. Transport for London and Arriva providing the rail network access. Goss Consulting providing expertise on disabled travellers requirements. University of Surrey security of personal data
Impact Still in development
Start Year 2017
 
Description TOCAbility Project 
Organisation WS Atkins
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Influencing the design of a system for disabled travellers to store their personal information such that it is used to provide them seamless assistance support on the rail network, in order to improve customer experience
Collaborator Contribution Enable ID: development of the technical system. Atkins Global: project management of the implementation. Transport for London and Arriva providing the rail network access. Goss Consulting providing expertise on disabled travellers requirements. University of Surrey security of personal data
Impact Still in development
Start Year 2017
 
Description Industry Advisory Board 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Ongoing group for knowledge exchange throughout the project lifetime. Membership from Rail Delivery Group, Rail Safety and Standards Board, Thales Ground Transportation Systems, Transport Systems Catapult, Enable ID, Digital Catapult
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017
 
Description Rail Delivery Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presentation/discussion with several staff fro Rail Delivery Group responsible for customer experience, customer information/data strategy, complaints, business planning.
Presenting the result of the research study on person, task and environment factors of relevance in rail complaints. Discussion of how the results could be used by RDG to provide a better experience for rail passengers (e.g. via National Rail Enquiries). Led to discussions regarding some potential commercial work for RDG: evaluating current customer information provision and developing future customer experience strategy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
URL http://www.raildeliverygroup.com
 
Description Transport Focus 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presentation/discussion with Senior Policy Advisor from Transport Focus
Presenting the result of the research study on person, task and environment factors of relevance in rail complaints
Discussion of how the results could be used by Transport Focus or the rail industry to provide a better experience for rail passengers
Afterwards put in contact with 2 data companies in rail who may be interested in the research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.transportfocus.org.uk/
 
Description Trasnport System Catapult 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presentation/discussion with lead for Mobility Services at Transport Systems Catapult. Presenting the result of the research study on person, task and environment factors of relevance in rail complaints. Discussion of how the results could be used by the rail industry, or for wider 'Mobility as a Service' providers to provide a better experience for users.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://ts.catapult.org.uk/
 
Description Virgin Trains 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presentation/discussion with customer information and data representatives from Virgins Trains. Presenting the result of the research study on person, task and environment factors of relevance in rail complaints. Discussion of how the results could be used by Virgin Trains to provide a better experience for rail passengers. Follow-up call planned to discuss in more detail.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://www.virgintrains.co.uk