Using travel history to deliver personalised services

Man wearing a shirt and tie looks out of the window of a train and smiles
Posted on: December 14, 2023 Posted by: Liz Davidson Comments: 0

Using travel history to deliver personalised services

The railways have been backward in collecting and using customer data.

Williams Shapps Report for Rail, 2021

It’s over 25 years since the Tesco Clubcard was introduced. Since then, retail loyalty schemes have become commonplace with at least 75% of UK adults belonging to at least one. They work well for consumers, and they work well for retailers who use that data to derive rich pictures of who we are and what else we might be tempted to buy.

Rail lags behind. And although reward schemes are beginning to emerge now, few take account of each passenger’s experience.

Personalisation in Rail – Trig 22

Supported by DfT Trig 2022, Esoterix examined the travel behaviour associated with 35,000 smart cards over the course of 2022, a total of 2.7 million journeys.

The project took a granular view of travel and then looked to see what that revealed about passengers in aggregate.


Among other things, we found we could

  • spot passengers who regularly travel for business;
  • identify passengers travelling for leisure, an example being football fans;
  • distinguish parents from students.

Valued customers

Operators can use our technology to improve the quality of their relationship with their smartcard and app users, by 

  • filtering messages according to the passenger’s travel profile type;
  • targeting offers, e.g. for event or leisure travel, at the passengers who are likely to be interested;
  • tailoring in-station advertising to the most common travel profile types which use it.

A rich seam of data

Want to learn more about who uses your rail network? Where they go and why? You may be sitting on a rich seam of data about travel patterns, destinations and purpose.

For a copy of our more detailed leaflet, please email Liz

With thanks to Department for Transport's TRIG programme for their support

Logo for Transport Research and Innovation Grants, Department for Transport

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