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Market research and scientific research

Information about the use of your data for various kinds of research.


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

We regularly perform (online) surveys among passengers and people visiting NS stations to keep improving our services. The main goal of these surveys is to capture your experiences with regard to train travel, train stations and other NS products and services. Participation in these surveys is entirely voluntary. You are free to decide whether to participate or not every time you receive an invitation. If you do not wish to receive invitations for online surveys, please click on the link at the bottom of the invitation to unsubscribe. 

We conduct research in five ways:

  1. NS-app feedback: The NS app lets users share feedback about their journey: (So, how's your trip?). If you use this feedback feature, you can give us permission to share:
    • 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 lets NS determine which station or train is linked to the report.
  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 purpose. 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 passenger survey, we may ask:
    • Whether we can scan your travel product, such as your OV-Chipkaart
    • whether you would be willing to do a survey about your travel experience.
  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. Miscellaneous customer survey: NS may send you an email or push notification to invite you to share your experiences with one of our products or services, such as a season ticket or travelling by train with NS.

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

Participation in these surveys is entirely voluntary. You are free to decide whether to participate or not every time you receive an invitation. If you do not wish to receive invitations for online surveys, please click on the link at the bottom of the invitation to unsubscribe. 

B) Information about the use of your personal data to improve 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 are not identifiable. 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 scientific research and statistics

Finally, we may conduct or commission scientific or other research for statistical purposes. Such research may involve the processing of personal information.

This includes aggregated data, such as the number of people who check in and out at a station, or composite answers from customer satisfaction surveys, trip feedback (So, How's your trip?) or the NS panel. In analysing unstructured data (e.g. open text fields), we may used advanced techniques such as text mining to convert the data into meaningful information. It may be necessary to process personal data for this research, in which case 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.

Which personal data do we use?

Depending on the nature of the research, we may use your contact details (name, place of residence, e-mail address), type of season ticket or purchases from NS, your travel preferences and derivative travel details such as how you spend your free time. For certain NS Panel surveys, we may also use your special personal data.

With whom do we share data?

We contract third parties to provide IT services. We also contract market research agencies 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 data.

We are authorised to provide your personal data to parties outside the European Economic Community 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 you last gave feedback. After that, the feedback will be anonymised unless you decide to delete your data first.

If we scan your travel product, we will keep these data for a maximum of 18 months. The data we collect may be published in an unidentifiable format.