How often do trains wait at a station longer than timetabled? Small delays each time add up to the trains often failing to run on time. Swedish researchers showed how automatically counting passengers can help trains run on time.
One of the key performance indicators of the efficiency of a railway system is the punctuality of trains, which is an important factor for passenger satisfaction
Ruben Alaric Kuipers and Carl-William Palmqvist used automatic passenger counting to show that the frequency and size of dwell times for commuter trains – the time spent at the station – often take longer than scheduled. They wanted to understand the effect of passenger volumes on delays, and how train punctuality could be improved.
The passenger count information confirmed that passenger volumes have an effect on the frequency of dwell time delays. Neglecting passenger counting underestimates the frequency of delays in most cases, especially for smaller delays, and leads to trains being late.
However, although the frequency of dwell time delays increases as passenger volumes increase, the same is not necessarily true for the length of the delay.
By automatically counting passengers, and acting on the data, train operators could make small increases in scheduled dwell times resulting in sharp increases in on-time performance. The researchers added though, that measures to speed up the boarding and alighting process were also necessary.
Automated Passenger Counting Systems
Our passenger counting system automatically analyses images from cameras over the train doors to detect the number of people getting on and off at each station. The system also records for how long the train stopped. Data is available immediately via the internet. For more information contact [email protected].
Kuipers RA, Palmqvist C-W. Passenger Volumes and Dwell Times for Commuter Trains: A Case Study Using Automatic Passenger Count Data in Stockholm. Applied Sciences. 2022; 12(12):5983. https://doi.org/10.3390/app12125983
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