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Automated passenger counting for buses, trains, trams and ferries

Automatically Counting Passengers

14 April 2016
Automatically count passengers getting on and off a bus, train, light rail or other public transit system.

Reliable and Accurate Passenger Counts | Video Passenger Counting System Saves Bus Company Thousands | How the Automated Passenger Counting System Works | Validating the Data | Counting people around Stations | Find out More…

Reliable and Accurate Passenger Counts

The most accurate passenger counting systems use CCTV and intelligent people counters to log numbers of people getting on and off at each stop or station. Once installed, operators save considerably on training and paying people to count passengers on a particular route.

A video counting system is over 98% accurate. Compare this to manual passenger counting where counts are out by an average of 15%.1

With video counting you can easily verify the automated counts simply by watching the video back and seeing the passenger counts change.

The system regularly sends data back to a central database.

Automated passenger counts help operators plan their timetables and routes and justify any grants they get for running a particular service. The most significant benefit, though, is the increase in fare revenue produced by cross-checking passenger numbers with issued tickets.

The automated passenger counting system (APC) provides reliable data at a low cost, no matter how busy the service.

An APC system on its own provides valuable information, but when you add vehicle tracking you can see where a bus or train is as well as how many people are on it.

With a passenger counting system, transport managers gain accurate key performance measures like passengers per mile, cost per passenger and number of passengers per driver

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Video Passenger Counting System Saves Bus Company Thousands

One of our passenger counting systems is saving a bus company thousands of pounds per bus. Automatically counting people on and off their buses enables the company to cross check passenger numbers with ticket machine transactions. With proof that they had more passengers than transactions, managers could take steps to remedy the missing fare revenue.

Video passenger counting system stops fare dodging

People are counted on and off the bus in, for example, five or ten minute intervals. Additionally, the system can record times at each stop, so is well suited for service planning. The length of time a bus waits at a stop—the dwell time—represents a significant portion of bus operation time.

With automated passenger counts, bus companies can easily generate reports for external funding agencies like regional authorities. They can also monitor ridership trends over time.

How the Automated Passenger Counting System Works

The system uses CCTV cameras linked to a Video Turnstile people counter which accurately detects and records entries, exits and waiting times. Video analytics data is regularly sent back to a central database. During setup you can watch the video and see exactly what the system is counting thus verifying the counts. You can also securely log on and remotely control and configure the units from any internet-enabled computer.

Our passenger counting systems are currently providing key data in the UK, Europe and Singapore.

Key benefits include:

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Validating the Data

"Confidence in the accuracy of APC data is critical to their widespread use and acceptance within and outside the transit agency." says the Transit Cooperative Research Program2. With CCTV counting operators can simply watch the video back - which shows both people getting on and off the vehicle together with the increasing counts - and thus verify that the system is counting properly. Transit agencies can have complete confidence in the passenger data they are receiving. The passenger count data is saved as text, CSV (comma separated variable such as suitable for input to Excel) or in MySql format to be easily integrated into existing database systems.

Counting People around Stations

As well as counting passengers as they get on and off buses and trains, the counting system can also monitor passenger flow around stations and show current occupancies. Queues can be monitored - showing the number of people currently waiting and the average queuing time for example. The system will show hotspot maps of activity: know exactly how long and where people pause. See which entrances and areas have the most traffic, and at which times of day. And, for retailers on the station, count footfall both going past and into each retail unit.

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1Boyle, D. B. (1998). Passenger counting technologies and procedures. TCRP Synthesis of Transit Practice 29. Washington, DC: Transportation Research Board.
2Transportation Research Board of the National Academies (2008). Passenger Counting Systems.