Passenger Counting: The Benefits of Automated Passenger Counting Systems (APC)

September 8, 2021

Today’s growing population and urbanization lead to increasing demand for transportation, which requires a corresponding increase in mass transport supply. Using an automated passenger counting system to count passengers can nurture systematic progress in the urban transportation sector.

The number of passengers is the most important number for mobility providers. Nowadays, passenger counting operations are developed through counting systems that only provide numbers of passengers entering a vehicle rather than entering and exiting, making the actual occupancy numbers inaccurate, and thus creating problems with route and vehicle optimization decisions made based on these same results.

What’s an Automatic Passenger Counting System (APC)?

Automated Passenger Counters (APC) are essentially dual people counting sensors that count the in and out numbers and are installed on transit vehicles. APCs accurately and automatically count and log the numbers of people on buses, trains, rail networks, ships, etc., as they get on and off at each stop or station.

Compare this to manual passenger counting, where counts are out by an average of 15%. Using APC technology can improve the accuracy and reliability of tracking transit ridership over traditional manual counting methods by operators or estimation through random surveying.

APC devices are becoming more common among transit operators seeking to improve the accuracy of reporting and analyze use patterns by linking boarding and alighting data with stop or station locations.

The V-Count Ultima AI sensors use cutting-edge active 3D stereo vision technology to count passengers reliably with an accuracy of up to 99% even under no light conditions. V-Count presents the data it generates instantly both on the cloud-based Business Intelligence Platform and on independent platforms by integrating 3rd party solutions with Rest-API integration options.

Data from automatic passenger counting systems are crucial for developing transport concepts for the cities of tomorrow, not just for transport companies but also for operators, authorities, and municipalities. Passenger counting data is a valuable source of knowledge for a wide variety of urban transport issues. The data can be leveraged to evaluate the services provided, react quickly to current traffic situations, and strategically develop future services.

How It Works

Passenger counting works by installing a people counter sensor over each door. The sensors detect the passengers as they enter and exit. The counting data is instantly transferred to the cloud platform as actionable reports, allowing instant real-time access to valuable information and data-based decision-making.

With the reporting screens, instantaneous data can trigger real-time actions on a vehicle or route basis. At the same time, historical reports constitute the most important data used for route, vehicle, and stop optimization. By detecting and interpreting passenger density at various scales, a passenger counting system can ensure the efficient use of vehicles while maximizing passenger satisfaction. 

Benefits of Using the V-Count Automated Passenger Counter for Passenger Counting

  1. Real-time data of passenger occupancy

The real-time collection and processing of data allow for vehicle optimization by using live vehicle occupancy information. This includes a wide range of options for improved planning, optimization, and evaluation of traffic networks.

  1. Increased customer satisfaction

By sharing the real-time occupancy data from each train unit with passengers, they can be directed to available seats while still waiting on the platform. Passengers can then spread out among the vehicles in an optimum way to increase traveling comfort.

  1. Flexible adjustment of vehicle capacity

Long-term historical passenger counting data allows public transport companies to optimally adjust their vehicle capacities according to transport volume. This means deciding how many train units must be deployed and on which lines; this way, transport providers can adapt and adjust vehicle capacities to meet the actual demand. By understanding vehicle capacities and passenger volume, transport companies can also determine and optimize the useful life of the vehicles based on user volume.

  1. Vehicle equipment in line with passenger requirements

Automatic Passenger Counting uses advanced and sophisticated technology that provides more data than just passenger numbers. The sensor system can reliably distinguish between passengers, baggage, and objects like wheelchairs, bicycles, or strollers. This allows for a more reliable determination of the space required in the vehicle and the implementation of wheelchair access ramps as needed.

  1. Efficient optimization of routes

Occupancy reports data from Automatic Passenger Counting provide the ideal basis for efficient route optimization. Public transport companies can recognize transport demand and adapt on a network level.

  1. Reduced costs

Passenger counting systems are cost-efficient and highly accurate. They collect and provide differentiated data on transport performance, providing the basis for precise cost reduction based on performance

  1. Increased profits from transport advertising

Public transport advertising is remarkably effective due to its repetition and high frequency of advertising views. Transportation companies that provide advertising services on their vehicles can share the people counting data with ad agencies to encourage them to advertise on their vehicles and determine their impact. Advertisers can also select specific routes and vehicles with higher occupancy rates to achieve higher impressions.

  1. Controlled payment systems and ticketing

By comparing the number of sold tickets with the number of people counted, transport providers can cross-check and have more control over ticketing systems to ensure transparency and avoid any discrepancies.