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While the 'beast from the east' wreaked havoc across the UK, London's public transport services coped better than most, thanks to the hard work of staff and the smart use of data analytics at TfL under Chief Data Officer Lauren Sager Weinstein. [See also: Chief Data Officer salary and job description - What's the role of the CDO and how much does a Chief Data Officer get paid?]

Transport for London uses data to organise transport routes, help passengers plan their journeys and issue automatic refunds for long delays.

"They don't need to claim for a refund on our website, we just pay the refund out them and it goes back to their Oyster or their contactless payment card," Sager Weinstein told Computerworld UK at the launch of the DataIQ 100 list of the most influential people in data.

"That's one area where we give a direct service back to our customers."

Weinstein finished seventh on a list topped by Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham, and the analytics experiments that TfL is currently conducting bode well for her future prospects.

They include a predictive maintenance project on the Central line that uses data to predict when a motor is soon to fail, and a trial that collected depersonalised WiFi data to understand how passengers move within tube stations.

The technology needs to focus on practical benefits for citizens, which Weinstein knows well thanks to a background in public policy as a field and planning deputy in Los Angeles and a student of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

"We need to then also give a little bit of space for our data scientists to play with the more cutting edge, and it's a balance that I have to reach," she says.

"You want your data scientist to be creative but you also want help with some of the most pressing business problems."

[Read full Lauren Sager Weinstein interview on Computerworld UK]