Addison Lee integrates 'what3words' into its booking tools to improve navigation accuracy for trips


Image credit: Addison Lee

Addison Lee, London’s largest private hire business and same day courier operation, has integrated progressive location technology ‘what3words’ into its booking tools to help with journeys and deliveries where a greater level of accuracy is required.


what3words was co-founded in the capital in 2013 by Chris Sheldrick, and they say it is one of the simplest ways to talk about location. The system covers the entire world, never needs updating and works offline.

Addison Lee say what3words will complement existing address technology on the private hire firm's booking platforms to help customers where they are navigating London’s “hard-to-find addresses”, or buildings and locations with multiple entrances, such as hospitals, offices and sports stadiums.


A spokesperson for the company said: “Importantly, in the current pandemic, if a customer has a hospital appointment at a particular wing, they can enter the what3words location in the Addison Lee app and be taken straight to the door - not only accurate but also avoiding unnecessary contact and enhancing safety.“

How what3words works


what3words has divided the world into a grid of 3m squares and given each a three-word identifier. Entering ///admiral.turkey.pushed as a destination in the Addison Lee app, for example, will take you to the front entrance of what3words’ London office.


If passengers were looking to go to the canal side entrance they could be dropped off at ///bands.piano.gave and walk to ///youth.runner.guess. Addison Lee have said that what3words technology can be used across all of its booking channels - app, web and phone.

Image credit: Addison Lee

Liam Griffin, Addison Lee’s CEO, said: “Among the millions of journeys and deliveries we do every year, there’ll always be some that need extra detail due to London’s wonderful scale and complexity. Our partnership with what3words will give us the extra accuracy to get our customers and deliveries to the exact right location – whether that’s the right office doors for your job interview or the gift to the deliveries entrance.”

Being more precise with location means customers and drivers will be able to avoid some of the current challenges of street addresses. A business name or postal address will often drop a pin in the centre of the building – which can sometimes be difficult to navigate if the destination is a large office building or hospital with multiple entrances and departments. what3words looks to take away that problem for drivers and passengers, with its integrated system which focuses on more accurate pinpoint specific locations.


A recent addressing study ‘Efficient and future-proof’, indicates only a third (34%) of UK postal addresses lead right to the front door of a property, with the majority identifying only a building, street or, in some cases, a general area. 22% of respondents had been taken to the wrong place entirely after inputting postal addresses into sat nav.

Image credit: Addison Lee

Chris Sheldrick, co-founder and CEO of what3words, said: “Postal addresses are not accurate enough for the modern world. Visitors to our office know this well. Entering our central London postal address into any sat nav, ride-hailing or navigation app won’t take you anywhere near our building. It actually drops a pin in the middle of the A40 Westway flyover that runs beside our office.


“This can add an extra 20 minutes to your journey and causes quite a lot of frustration. By accepting what3words addresses, Addison Lee is alleviating pain points like this and making their experience by far the safest, fastest and easiest around.”


Around the UK, people are using what3words in many unique and individual ways. From providing what3words addresses on check-out pages, to route navigation inside Mercedes-Benz cars, or simply to meet friends. what3words is also accepted by 85% of emergency services in the UK, including the Metropolitan Police.

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