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Transport in the twenty-first century

January saw Boris Johnson unveil some truly exciting news for Londoners. Hot on the heels of the competition to design a new Routemaster bus, Boris proudly announced the launch of the official Tube Toilet Map.

OK, so a map of the capital’s best connected cottaging spots might not be the most crowd-pleasing thing to hit London this year – the snow arguably wins that one.

However, this exciting news, together with my recent relocation to Sydney, have made me realise that despite the overcrowding and weather-induced delays, TfL does a pretty good job when it comes to trying to improve the experience of weary commuters.

While the best you can hope for in Sydney is the right change and a bus stop with a timetable, TfL has not only made it quick and easy to pay for a bus using Oyster, it’s also pretty simple to find the right one in the first place.

Refreshingly for a publicly funded organisation, TfL has embraced digital technology with desktop and mobile widgets to help with everything from finding your way home to keeping tabs on how long the Victoria Line is closed for at the weekend.

While these type of apps might normally be associated with faddish social media ventures, TfL shows how powerful mobile apps can be in solving practical everyday problems. It’d be great if some other public sector organisations were to see the light as well.

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