QR and TfL Countdown

There are Nineteen thousand, five hundred bus stops in London!

Each one of them is (eventually) going to be upgraded with a new real time bus countdown signs.

If you've got an Internet capable phone, you can get real time information for your bus at http://m.countdown.tfl.gov.uk/. The service has a number of cool features, including geolocation.

The great thing, in my opinion, is that each stop has a unique URL. I can bookmark http://m.countdown.tfl.gov.uk/arrivals/72073 and check the buses as my train pulls in to Waterloo Station.

At the moment, there's no signs on bus stops to let people know how they can access the countdown page for their location. That needs to change.

TFL Bus Countdown QR Branded

Here, I've used the TfL Bus Roundel (entirely without permission) to show a potential design.

The QR code is designed to be stuck on a bus stop information panel and leads directly to that stop's arrivals page.

TfL Countdown Page

TfL Countdown Page

Where's the best place to stick this?
TfL QR too high

The above image is an excellent example of what not to do.

  • The code is physically too high for most people to scan.
  • No descriptive text saying what the code does.
  • Susceptible to dirt and defacement.

It would probably be best to place it directly on the maps provided at each stop.
Bus Spider QR

There may need to be a little rejiggling of the maps to accommodate the code - as well as some tests to see what wording works best to encourage people to scan.

The net result should be something which is suitable for every one of the 19,500 bus stops in London.
TfL QR Bus stand

It should be fairly easy for TfL to get this going. QR Codes everywhere!

Thanks to Ben Stewart for the idea.

3 thoughts on “QR and TfL Countdown

  1. The backlit map area has to be the best place to put it - especially so it can be scanned at night (when people are quite likely to be at a bus stop they don't know).
    Something like this, with a nice little ad-campaign from TFL to educate about the use of QR codes could really make this one of the most revolutionary things to happen to travel in the UK!

  2. Hullo

    I love this idea - I think what also needs to happen is that access to QR scanning from mobile devices needs to get easier. For it to really hit the mass-market, people would need it to be as simple as possible. For example, integrated into the camera app itself, or a physical button on the device that instantly scans for QR codes. As much as us technies love stuff like this, most people need as simple a concept as possible - 'click 'n' go'.

    By the way, I'm the developer of one of the iPhone apps that also gets the job done ("London Bus Checker" - http://www.buschecker.com) - hope that's not too shameless a plug. Same data presented as a native iPhone app; you have to pay 1.99 but that's forever.

    Love the blog, will keep it bookmarked.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: