How Transport for London uses social media to keep a city moving

Matthew Carlton

On October 10, 2013 Jay Z performed at London's O2 Arena prompting Transport for London (TfL) to tweet the following from its @TFLTrafficNews feed:

'Jay-Z concert taking place at the O2 arena. You got 99 problems? Make sure traffic ain't one.'

For those unfamiliar with Jay Z's back catalogue, the tweet referenced one of the rapper's most famous hits, '99 Problems'. It received 610 retweets, 238 favourites and 152 responses, and demonstrated how the transport operator has developed an assured nature when it comes to social media.

Such light-hearted touches are not something it can display in its messages at all times. Chris MacLeod, Marketing Director at TfL, explained, as part of the #IPASocialWorks update at IPA Eff Fest, that the vast majority of the time it is using social media to highlight travel problems, such as heavy traffic on the roads or disruptions on the Underground network.