Visiting Transport for London

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Another week finished! This week, in my Survey of International Business Issues and the City of London class, I had the opportunity to serve as a site lead during our visit to Transport for London. Transport for London (TFL) truly keeps London moving by running the day-to-day operation of the public transportation network and managing main roads. My site lead partner and I had researched TFL and collaborated to create a presentation on the history and key facts of the organization. After sharing this information with my class, I felt as though I was educated on the site. However, there was so much more to learn from the management and employees of TFL!

Our hosts had prepared presentations, facilitated discussions, and were eager to share their knowledge with us. They dedicated time out of their busy schedules to explain their roles, answer our questions, and even show us the underground and overground control centers. I was very interested in the technology and advanced engineering that went into creating the brand-new underground tube line, the Elizabeth Line, named after Queen Elizabeth. I was lucky enough to be able to ride the state-of-the-art line on its second day of operation, 25 May 2022! During the site visit, I learned about how remarkable the line is. It was built merely inches above and below other tube lines and can be controlled through signals that can be managed through the control center. The time spent creating this line was well worth it. From experience, it is the smoothest line of transport I have ridden during my time in London!

As a fan of exploration, I was also interested in the abandoned tube stations. I learned that these abandoned stations are still maintained for safety purposes today, and some are used as media filming locations. Fast and Furious 6, Thor-The Dark World, and Skyfall are just a few examples of movies that feature stations in London’s underground system. I was informed that there are tours available to see the abandoned underground stations through the London Transport Museum and added the experience to my London bucket list!

The professional atmosphere was another aspect that was prevalent to me during the visit. The most incredible thing to watch was the consistent focus and confidence in the control centers. Both the overground and the underground control centers are broken up into specialized parts that are committed to working together to make sure that the transportation routes in London all run as timely and safely as possible. We were able to see how the lines are monitored in real time. The statistics that are kept on the usage of the transportation systems are thorough, and TFL takes pride in how important their work is for movement throughout the entire City of London.

Visiting Transport for London was eye-opening, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn so much about the transportation that I use every day. London is lucky to have such dedicated individuals responsible for the millions of daily journeys that are taken throughout the city.