Consumer Data Research Centre

Urban Mobility

High quality movement data from a range of transport sectors (rail, car, bike etc.) and footfall sensors allow researchers to better understand travel flows and commuter numbers and journeys.  The detailed patterns of daily travel behaviour are essential in supporting infrastructure planners in their efforts to design effective, affordable and sustainable networks.




To demonstrate the value of our data holdings,  researchers at our host universities are currently undertaking Big Data exemplar research projects in each of our key research themes.


Representing Population Dynamics from Administrative and Consumer Registers

There is an abundance of data on the population, which are routinely collected by public and private organisations. These data are crucial for decision-making processes in numerous areas such as urban management, retail, transport planning and informing government policies. However, they are rarely analysed or repackaged as public datasets.

This research seeks to derive representative metrics of population dynamics through new forms of data.

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Understanding Footfall using Wi-Fi sensor data in the Smart City

In partnership with the Local Data Company (LDC) this research presents the Smart Street Sensor project, a novel case of producing footfall data using Wi-Fi signals from mobile devices. The data presented is being derived from Wi-Fi sensors that have been installed in a number of retail establishments across the UK, using proprietary hardware and software developed by the LDC.

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Real time simulation of daily travel patterns

The proliferation of smartphone ownership and app usage has enabled new forms of data collection relating to transport behaviour. Currently, data are collected via transport surveys, which have small sample sizes, are time consuming to carry out and often contain inaccurate information. Smartphone technology has the potential to generate individual level in real time.

Catch!, a project funded by Innovate UK, aims to understand travel behaviour in greater detail using data crowd-sourced via a smartphone application and to provide insight to Local Authorities to improve the transport network.

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The Centre delivers a national service to the social science research community by providing access to a large volume of consumer data for research. Users can access our datasets either directly from the datastore or by application.


Inclusive and Healthy Mobility: Understanding Trends in Concessionary Travel in the West Midlands

This ESRC-funded research focuses on the sharp decline in bus patronage by senior residents of the West Midlands Combined Authority. We develop new techniques to link travel smartcard data to other operational and administrative data sources and identify patterns and trends in older people’s mobility. The project will be relevant to transport policy and research on inclusive and health-promoting transport systems.

Project page

Southwark Traffic Webmap, Southwark Council

The Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC) were approached by Southwark Council to assist with converting their data into a useful and interactive visual tool to deal with traffic flows. The output generated is discussed in a research case study provided by Southwark Council.

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An exploration of Bike Citizens Data: developing tools and applications for enhanced data analysis, University of Leeds

This project explored the nature and geographic extent of the BikeCitizens data and documented in a non-disclosive format the tools, methods and approaches that could be used to analyse the data and potential application areas.

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Footfall in Denbigshire comparison data, Denbigshire County Council

In Denbigshire there are a number of factors influencing the rise and fall of visitors to the highstreets.  Some factors influence spreads over the entire UK, some may influence Wales and others on an even more local scale.  The objective of this project is to understand the extent to which the footfall of Denbigshire town centres are influenced by national trends and extract the nuances which are due to a more proximate influences.

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Understanding the impact of the Night Tube on Westminster’s Night Economy, UCL

The City of Westminster has the largest night time economy of its kind if compared to anywhere in the UK.  This project seeks to model both the general behaviour and the dynamics of the evening and night time economy and better understand some of the impacts of the Night Tube in the West End in order to influence how Westminster City Council and the city as a whole can manage and respond to these changes.

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Understanding the Changes in Visitor Behaviour Effect brought about by the implementation of the Night Tube Service

The night time economy is valuable for a city like London and the night tube has been rationalised to bring greater economic benefit to the areas it serves.  This project, five months after the launch, seeked to review the impact the night tube service had on the Westminster City.

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CDRC’s Masters Research Dissertation Programme instigates several masters led research projects which seek to tackle topical problems put forward by industry. We have included a number of example projects below, you can also view the full selection of extended abstracts which summarise the research undertaken by students who participated in previous years of the programme.


Electric vehicle charge point placement optimisation – e.on

There is increasing demand for plug-in and hybrid vehicles in the UK as they are becoming more affordable due to decreased battery costs and lower manufacturing costs. In order for the growth in electric vehicles to continue, consumers need to be reassured that there is adequate charging provision, with a recent survey showing almost half of UK consumers are worried that they would not be able to find an available, working or compatible charge point (CP).

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An investigation into the potential of Bluetooth Beacons to monitor the movement of people on public transport: A preliminary case study of the Norwich Bus Network – Movement Strategies

Bluetooth Beacon technology offers a possible alternative to traditional methods due to technological development, increased user engagement as well as a unique, persistent and anonymous ID making it suitable for tracking movement.  This project assessed the potential that Bluetooth data has in providing passenger movement data at a higher spatial and temporal granularity and at a much lower cost than has previously been available.

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A Geodemographic Segmentation Analysis of EasyJet’s UK Customers – EasyJet

The objective of this project was to analyse EasyJet’s customer and booking data to further understand who the airline’s primary customers are.  This research is based on data provided by EasyJet to aid in producing clear and representable results for all EasyJet customers within the United Kingdom in conjunction with previous research and analysis.

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