Buses in London are tracked by radio and GPS, yet Londonders are seeing no benefit.

Some bus stops have live departure boards, but it's not very useful when you're at home or with friends and you want to know when the bus will be arriving.

TFHell is a proof-of-concept application and API designed to make life easier for bus users.

By taking data from TFL's already-established bus tracking system, the application will find a bus stop and display how long each bus will take to arrive at that stop. It's that simple.

The API:

The entire back-end system has been written, so an application can be built for any platform to make use of this.

The App:

There is currently a web-based version of the application, built in HTML, CSS and PHP. It was designed for the iPhone, but will work on most other web-capable phones. There are unlimited possibilities in terms of how it can be implemented as an application.


The system has been built and works. However, it uses randomly generated data for the bus times because TFL do not provide publicly available bus time information. Several other local authorities in England do provide this data and TFL do have the data, it's only a matter of releasing it.


If the data were to be provided by TFL, it would take changing a single line of code in the API to make it fully functional and available for public use.

Ideas for taking this project forward

On September 3rd, 2009. A matter of days after the event, and TfHell's release.

TfL announce (in the form of a press release) that they're going to take on the project themselves. On the bright side, it shows our proof-of-concept demo has been implemented, proving our judgement was correct - this concept was needed, and demand justifies implementation.

That said, it's sad that it's another two years until implementation (early 2011), and that (to our knowledge) this data will not be made publicly available for developers.

The original team at TfHell are not involved in this project, and the TfHell project was discontinued shortly after.

[View press release on]( "Better bus information on the way.")

Estimated costs for taking this project forward

About the data used for this project

Data was generated at random to demonstrate the concept. This data used real bus stops from the entire of London (scraped), and real bus routes (with realistic timing). Since TfL don't provide any data on actual buses, they were generated and based on scraped data to keep the proof-of-concept application as realistic as possible.

ETAs were not cached, but calculated efficiently at run-time.

Tube data was taken from the wonderful [TubeUpdates website]( "Tube Up-time API").

Project URL:

Twitter: @tfhell

Created at

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