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Market research and scientific research

Information about the use of your information for the purposes of various kinds of research.

A) Information about the use of your personal data for market research purposes

We regularly conduct research among our travellers and visitors to stations in order to constantly improve our services. These studies focus on your experience of the train journey, stations, and other NS products and services. 

We use four methods to conduct this research:

  1. If you have purchased a product or service from NS (such as a season ticket), we may send you a questionnaire via e-mail.
  2. If you volunteer to participate in the NS Panel, you will be contacted periodically to provide your opinion on an NS product or service.
  3. In the NS app, you can give feedback about your journey (And How Was Your Journey?). When you utilise this feedback functionality, you can grant permission to share the following data:
    • check-in/check-out data. This allows NS to send an invitation to give feedback on your journey via a push notification.
    • sharing your location data. This allows NS to determine which station or train is linked to the report.
  4. During your train journey, we may also ask you to participate in a traveller survey. Depending on the type of traveller survey, we may ask you:
    • Whether we may scan your travel product, such as your OV-chipkaart.
    • Whether we may send you an invitation to participate in the customer satisfaction survey via e-mail.
    • Whether you would be willing to fill in a survey about your travel experience during your journey.

The grounds for processing under 1 is: justified interest.
The grounds for processing under 2,3 and 4 is: permission.

Participation in these surveys is entirely voluntary. You may decide per invitation whether you would like to participate or not. If you do not wish to receive invitations for online surveys, you can click on the link to withdraw from the invitations at the bottom of the invitation. 

B) Information about the use of your personal data for the improvement of products and services

NS aggregates and analyses travel data from all of its customers or travellers for the purpose of improving its services and products, and fulfilling concession obligations. The aggregated travel data cannot be traced back to individuals. This should not be confused with the processing of personal data in the context of customer satisfaction surveys and related market research as described under point A.

The basis for this data processing is legitimate interest.

C) Information on the use of your personal data for the purposes of scientific research and statistics

Finally, it is possible that we may commission or conduct scientific research or research for statistical purposes. It may be necessary to process personal data for this research.

This includes aggregated data such as the number of people boarding or de-boarding at a station, or composite answers from customer satisfaction surveys, feedback about your journey (And? How was your Journey?) or the NS panel. When analysing unstructured data (such as open text fields), we may use advanced techniques (such as text mining) to convert the data into meaningful information. In these cases, we will take sufficient measures to guarantee privacy, such as using pseudonyms, considering the context in which the data were collected, and only publishing when the possibility that further processing will have consequences for those persons involved has been ruled out.

In the case of scientific research or statistical purposes, we may share the data with scientific organisations, such as universities, or organisations of a public nature, such as municipal governments, the Ministry of Infrastructure, or ProRail. These organisations will not be able to attribute the data to an individual person. The organisations use the data to perform their duties and responsibilities in the station area in order to attune the facilities to the travellers' needs.

We also publish data that cannot be attributed to an individual person, so that it can be used for scientific or statistical purposes.

The basis for this data processing is compatible use: scientific research and statistical purposes.

What personal data do we use?

Depending on the subject of the research, we may use your contact details (name, place of residence, e-mail address), type of season ticket or your purchases from NS, your travel preferences and derived travel information, such as how you spend your free time.

With whom do we share this data?

We contract third parties to provide IT and marketing services. We also contract market research bureaus to conduct research on our behalf and to collect and/or analyse the data. These third parties process our information solely for our own internal use, and for no other purpose. We have made agreements with these parties pertaining to the processing of personal information.

We are authorised to provide your personal information to parties outside the European Economic Area under certain circumstances. In that event, we will take suitable measures with these parties, for example by agreeing to the standard provisions required by the European Commission.

How long do we store your data?

In principle, we will store your registration for the NS Panel and your contact details for an unlimited time, until you indicate that you no longer wish to participate in market research surveys. 

Your data and preferences will be automatically deleted from the feedback function of the NS App six months after the last feedback provided. After that, the feedback will be made anonymous unless you decide to delete your data beforehand.

E-mail addresses collected for online customer satisfaction surveys during a train journey will be stored for a maximum of six months, after which they will be removed from the database.

If we scan your travel product, we will keep this data for a maximum of 18 months. The data we collect may be published in a form that cannot be traced back to you.