Lauren Sager Weinstein, Head of Analytics, Customer Experience, Transport for London
By Lauren Sager Weinstein, Head of Analytics, Customer Experience, Transport for London
I come from a long line of engineers from both sides of my family tree, and computers were in my life at a pretty early stage. Our family owned a Commodore Vic 20, and I remember as a young kid doing rudimentary programming in BASIC, making my name repeat and flash across the screen. As a result, I’ve always been comfortable with having technology in my life and in my work. I love gadgets and I love to surround myself with them.
Still, I haven’t taken the traditional tech training-to-working path. I’m not a software engineer. Instead, I got a Master’s Degree in Public Policy. That’s because I love thinking about what makes cities tick—how they have developed over time, and in particular how the transport network influences how cities are structured and how they function. So, my career has been primarily in local government. I started off working for the City of Los Angeles many years ago, and since 2002, I have been at Transport for London (TfL).
Because I’ve always had the ability to communicate with both techy and non-techy people, I’ve always found myself gravitating towards technology in the work that I’ve done. And now, I lead an analytics team at TfL.
TfL is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Capital’s public transport network, managing London’s main roads and planning and building new infrastructure. We collect a vast range and amount of data every day through our ticketing system and through our vehicle information systems. We use this data in our decisions about how we develop and operate our transport services in London.
We can use our massive data sets to answer questions like “Where should new bus routes go?” or “How do people’s travel patterns change over time?” But it’s not all big-picture, long-term questions. We also use our data to help customers on a daily basis, by emailing customers with useful information tailored to their travel needs. And when things do go wrong on our services from time to time, we use pattern recognition to figure out which customers were most inconvenienced by travel disruptions and automatically refund their fares.
I love leading a creative and talented team, and I love knowing that we are using big data to help TfL and our customers. We’re continually thinking of new ways our tools and analysis can tackle London’s transport challenges. We use technology to better understand how London works, and then translate that into actions for running our transport services, now and into the future. It’s so exciting to have the chance to shape a city and explore new technology in the process.