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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 carry out online surveys among our passengers and visitors to our stations, with the purpose of continuing to improve our services. These surveys are focused on your experiences with the train journey, stations and other NS products and services. Participation in surveys is completely voluntary - upon receiving each invitation, you can decide for yourself whether or not to participate. If you would rather not receive any more invitations for online surveys, please click on the unsubscribe option at the bottom of the invitation.

We carry out our research in five ways:

  1. NS App feedback: The NS App gives you the opportunity to provide feedback on your journey (En? Hoe Is Je Reis? (And? How was your journey?)). If you use this feedback function, you can provide consent for sharing the following:
    • check-in/check-out data: NS can use this method to send a push notification inviting you to provide feedback about your journey.
    • sharing your location data: this enables NS to establish which station or train the report concerns.
  2. NS Panel surveys: NS Panel participants periodically receive an e-mail message about various current topics. NS makes use of the services of a research agency for this. The surveys concern subjects relevant to the NS, including train travel, NS travel information resources, and new products or services. You can find more information about this on the NS Panel website.
  3. Passenger survey: During your train journey, we may ask you to participate in a passenger survey. Depending on the type of survey, we may ask you:
    • Whether we can scan your travel product, such as your OV-Chipkaart
    • Whether you would like to fill in a survey on your experience of the journey.
  4. Contact experience survey: NS may send you an e-mail invitation for a customer satisfaction survey regarding your contact with the customer service. NS makes use of the services of a research agency for this.
  5. Other customer surveys: If you have used an NS product or service (such as a season ticket or by travelling on an NS train), we may send you a questionnaire by e-mail.

The basis for processing under 1, 2 and 3 is: consent.
The basis for processing under 4 and 5 is: legitimate interest

Participation in surveys is completely voluntary - upon receiving each invitation, you can decide for yourself whether or not to participate. If you would rather not receive any more invitations for online surveys, please click on the unsubscribe option 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.