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Automated passenger counting for buses, trains, trams and ferries

Automated Passenger Counting

11 January 2019
Automatically count passengers getting on and off a bus, train, light rail or other public transit system.

Contents: Accurate passenger counts | How it works | Why count passengers? | Case Study: Video passenger counting saves bus company thousands per bus | Counting people around stations | Smart cities | Contact…

Accurate Passenger Counts

The most accurate passenger counting systems use cameras and intelligent people counters to log numbers of people getting on and off at each stop or station.

A video counting system is over 98% accurate. Compare this to manual counting where counts are out by an average of 15%.1 Bikes, luggage, adults and children can easily be distinguished.

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


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How it Works

Cameras over each door are linked to a counting unit running software which detects entries and exits. An embedded video server lets users view live video footage alongside the people counts, so they can accurately verify, and configure, the system over the internet. Once set up, the counts alone are sent over the network to save bandwidth. Counts can also be stored locally.

During setup you can watch the video remotely and see exactly what the system is counting thus verifying the number of passengers counted - giving confidence in the information that you are receiving. You can also securely log on and remotely control and configure the units securely.

The video analytics can be fine-tuned in software during the configuration phase. For example, the counting zone can be modified or shadows adjusted for. Software also lets users set the time period over which counts are accumulated.

Users can log into the system securely over the internet to see real-time passenger information.

The counters regularly send data back to a central database, every 5 minutes if necessary. The choice of data formats include text, CSV (comma separated variable) and MySql, which allows the data to be easily integrated with existing systems.

Passenger counter
The compact passenger counter

We offer a trial system so agencies can ensure that the counting system works for them before purchasing. Please get in touch for more details.

Why Count Passengers?

There are many benefits to automatically counting passengers , from cost to operational reasons.

Light rail

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

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Case Study: Video Passenger Counting System Saves Bus Company Thousands Per Bus

Automatically counting people on and off their buses enabled a transport 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

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Counting People around Stations

As well as counting passengers as they get on and off public transport, 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.

Smart Cities

Automated passenger counting is being used by smart cities as part of their big data analytics. Using the Internet-of-Things (IoT) to combine passenger counts with pedestrian flow, vehicle counts and pollution monitoring. This data management - acquiring, validating, storing, protecting, processing and making the information available as required - gives insight into people's behaviour and helps make cities and towns better places to live.

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

Further Reading

Case Studies:
- Counting mobile library users in the arctic circle
- Bus passenger counter saves transport company thousands of pounds per bus
- More case studies

Téléchargez la brochure de comptage des passagers en français Download as pdf.

Download the Passenger Counting leaflet as a pdf file Download as pdf.

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