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HS2 is Europe’s largest infrastructure project. It will connect towns and cities in the South, Midlands, and North with faster, easier, and more reliable travel that will put more opportunities within reach for millions of people for work, business, and leisure.

The HS2 website is the gateway to discovering all things currently underway with the project.

With such a large amount of web traffic coming from all over the world it is extremely important for HS2 to understand how their users navigate through the website and how they engage with the content. But paramount to that is user privacy and keeping the website 100% GDPR compliant.

In 2021 we carried out extensive research into GDPR compliant analytics platforms and had already made the leap over from Google Analytics to Matomo for our own website analytics.

Matomo has revolutionised what a web analytics platform can be, not just by providing a robust selection of privacy options but also by giving you full ownership of any data collected so you can stay in complete control of your users’ data.

Privacy first

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to companies, non-profit organisations, and public entities worldwide to strengthen data protection for all individuals within the European Union (EU). You can be fined up to 4% of your yearly revenue for data/privacy breaches or non-compliance, according to Article 83 of the GDPR.

There is a multitude of options available within Matomo to make sure you are 100% GDPR compliant. These include:

  • GDPR Manager
  • Data anonymisation
  • User tracking opt-out functionality
  • Only first-party cookie tracking by default with additional options for cookieless tracking
  • IP anonymisation
  • Visitor logs and profiles can be disabled
  • Capabilities to delete visitor data if requested
  • Data is stored in the EU (if you are using Matomo Cloud)

Goodbye to cookie banners

Matomo is a cookie-less alternative to Google Analytics. This means you won’t need to irritate your visitors with a cookie consent screen but can still benefit from getting a more complete picture of how your visitors use your website.

There are a few things that get affected by removing cookies, such as being able to distinguish between new and returning visitors or tracking goals from users across different marketing channels, but it is a small price to pay for peace of mind that user privacy was the first consideration.

What needs tracking?


One of the most important things for HS2 to track is downloads. They have detailed documentation on their approach to sustainability and their code of construction practice. They also have up-to-date resources on their current and future contract opportunities and guidance for property schemes across all phases of the project lifecycle.

Tracking how these documents perform is vital to understanding whether this important information is in the right place, if it is signposted clearly enough and whether users have any interest in the information.

This then informs the website structure and the content strategy moving forward. Matomo’s download tracking is automatically configured to collect any file download and its reporting dashboard is clear and easy to use.


Another aspect of the HS2 website that is very important to track is outlinks. These are essentially any links on the website that push the user journey off of the HS2 website and onto a different one.

HS2.org.uk is part of a large network of websites and subdomains that all work together to provide the best service for its users’ needs. For example, news articles and information related to the project can be found in the media centre.

Understanding which news articles are grabbing users’ attention is very useful information and Matomo provides an out-of-the-box solution for this tracking.

Site search

Something that often gets overlooked yet is extremely important to understand is site search. What are users typing into the search bar that they are not finding within the website’s navigation or information architecture?

Matomo allows us to know what keywords are being entered and what pages are visited directly following a search. Any trends in keywords and onward journey are an indication of a gap in signposting or a need for a new content hierarchy.

Page transition

The final aspect worth mentioning is how users transition from page to page. Knowing which pages are most visited is vital in understanding where your most popular content resides.

However, knowing how users got to that page and where they went next allows you to understand the user journey and curate new content on those pages to better serve that journey.

Matomo provides us with all the data we need to give HS2 exactly what they want: all the information we need to improve the website for all users, and all the privacy and security HS2 needs to remain GDPR compliant.

To see how Matomo can provide you with the same level of service then get in touch with our team [email protected]