Efficient passenger counting for the optimization of public transport

Public transport authorities need to know the behavior of users of the transport network that they manage to be able to adapt service to demand. The majority of urban planners have tried to compile this information through mobility studies based on telephone surveys, public transport user questionnaires and sporadic manual counts in vehicles. However, the data obtained with these methods are not at all precise, as they do not cover long periods, and are therefore based on a sample of reality which is too small.

It is, therefore, necessary to be able to have efficient passenger counting technologies that are able to offer the most precise counting data possible, automatically, while the mode of transport continues on its route.

In response to this demand, the Azimut automatic passenger counter is able to understand the long-term behavior of passengers as a substitute or complement to manual mobility studies, allowing patterns, atypical values, and variables that may affect normal flows to be identified.

The Azimut system is based on 3D image reconstruction through a camera with 3D sensors able to measure the intensity and the phase of the image detected through Time of Flight (ToF) technology. Azimut hardware has a matrix of over 76,800 infrared 3D sensors to obtain high precision in the results obtained, even in low light and night-time conditions. This camera is installed in the upper section of the vehicle entrance door, facing the floor and placed at a height of 210 to 235 centimeters. After the easy calibration of the camera in the optimal place for its use, the system offers a guaranteed precision of over 97% in all cases. The Azimut system can work in combination with the Azimut video surveillance server for the joint processing of CCTV video surveillance data with counting data integrated on the same Azimut Live View remote monitoring platform. Additionally, the Azimut system can work autonomously and can be integrated with other systems, through the interconnection of the counting system with other third-party systems through an Ethernet RJ45 port

The main advantages of the Azimut solution are:

  • Precision in counting, always over 97%
  • Elimination of perspective and obstruction problems
  • Unaffected by changes of light, shadows or reflections
  • Operates in complex situations: crowds, low light, etc.
  • Differentiates bodies moving in the background
  • Differentiates people from pets or objects
  • Distinguishes people passing at the same time

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Once the counting data has been read by the Azimut or a third-party server, it is sent over the internet to a remote server, where it is processed and analyzed by the operator to be applied to the optimization of the transport based on user demand.

Azimut currently offers a series of various platforms on the cloud for the interpretation of counting data and for the analysis and optimization of transport by the operator. These remote platforms are integrated with the data from stops of the operator, and graphically showing the counting data taken in all vehicles, so that the operator can easily view the usability map of the network, maximizing facilitation of the operation of the service and the management of the whole fleet. The data is also exportable in Excel format for subsequent processing by the operator.

Examples of data directly extractable from the platform

  • The number of passengers by day of the week, month, stop lines, etc.
  • Identification of passenger flows
  • The current flow of passengers based on the capacity of the operator transport
  • Maps of user concentration along the different sections of the routes
  • Ranking of stops by the intensity of use

Additionally, the system can be integrated with Wi-Fi Tracking solutions to understand the mobility of passengers through origin-destination matrixes.

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Key indicators of the integrated solution

  • Number of passengers per journey
  • Origin and destination of the passengers’ journeys
  • Number of passengers getting on and off per stop

Functionalities to which the platform offers access

  • Display of the flow in real time
  • Analysis of the fluctuation of passengers over time and based on external data: weather, events in the city, etc.
  • Sending of notifications to mobile devices
  • Display of the state of counters and detection of manipulation
  • Possibility of integration with other systems

Advantages that the solution offers the operator

  • OPTIMISATION OF RESOURCES: Adapts routes to the origin-destination matrix and scales fleets based on fluctuation of passengers
  • DYNAMIC SERVICE: Adapts the service to real flows
  • AUTONOMOUS PLANNING: Provides users with data on real activity and helps them to avoid crowding

Advantages related to security

  • CONTROL OF CROWDING: Identifies the formation of crowding and takes measures where required
  • MEASUREMENT AND DETECTION OF FRAUD: Detects fraudulent behavior at points of access
  • SIMULATION OF CHANGES TO ROUTES: Predicts the use of a new stop, route, and line