The man in charge of the IT that supports the transport infrastructure, on which the commuters of the capital depend
Transport for London IT boss
Steve Townsend has to balance the demands of providing a stable IT infrastructure of mammoth scale with the flexibility that the living city environment of the capital and economic engine of the UK as a whole requires.
For the full feature, see also: CIO Profile: TfL's Steve Townsend plans for 2012 Olympics and beyond
Picture 1: Victoria Peckham cc2.0 Pictures 2,3, 5 and 6: CIO UK Picture 4: Startagain cc2.0
December 1, 2011
1. High bandwidth network
Around two billion passengers travelled on London's 8500 buses last year; every day 3.5 million journeys are made on the Tube; and more than 10 million Tube, bus and train passenger journeys a day are paid for using the Oyster contactless card.
In all, 24 million journeys are made every day over the whole TfL network.
2. Political animal
TfL CIO Steve Townsend is a veteran in the organisation and knows how to navigate the potentially political environment.
He explained that the performance of the transport network directly impacts on the economic health of the capital.
3. Many routes
The organisation is split into the tube network, which is operated directly and a number of overground operations, such as the Congestion Charge and the cylce hire scheme, which are franchised out. Both businesses are supported by a shared administration IT infrastructure.
4. A living city
Much of what Townsend does is around managing change. He has to take big events, such as the 2012 Olympics into account, but also the continual change in the city's demographic patchwork. The requirements of the system can never be finally met.
5. Shared services, joined-up thinking
Business processes across the whole organisation are under review and Townsend is part of the vanguard of executives transforming the business so that it communicates better internally. Through that, TfL should be able to improve services to travellers, such as providing better information about bus services at the bus stop.
6. Walking the line
Townsend has a background in telecommunications. He describes himself as more of a tech-focused CIO, but recognises that to succeed, the IT leader has to walk a tightrope between the technology department and the rest of the business.