Real-time occupancy information for buses and trains with DILAX Live Occupancy Monitoring

Packed buses and trains? That was never a pleasant experience for passengers. And now it’s unimaginable. The pandemic has changed many things, including our ideas of how we want to travel. Ideally while social distancing, with face masks and fresh air. Passengers want to board buses and trains that have enough room for everyone. It’s not just a matter of providing a service, providing information is just as important: How full will the next bus or train be? DILAX has been offering a technological solution for this question that works with absolute precision and reliability for a long time. In this critical situation, our DILAX Automatic Passenger Counting (APC) solution with real-time information is proving itself with excellent performance.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a significant decrease in passenger numbers in public transport. Some have switched to cycling, others prefer using their car and many are working from home and not traveling through the city or region at all. And the tourists who usually use local public transport to explore the city are staying at home.

This cannot and will not be the scenario in the future. Because the pandemic will come to an end. And public transport is and will continue to be the key form of mobility in urban areas. To achieve the sustainability goals of 2030 Agenda, cities need strong public transport as part of the #MobilityRevolution. That’s why we have to do everything we can to ensure that people enjoy getting back on board by making them feel safe when doing so. And to ensure that even more people will enjoy using local public transport services.

When information creates trust

The need for safety has to be met with facts, not promises. Data are facts. The question “How full is the next subway?” can be answered with APC data in real time. The information helps customers decide whether to travel now or later, whether to walk or wait.

When APC sensors are installed at every door, they count all the passengers who board and alight with absolute accuracy and reliability. Today, this is valuable information – not only for transport companies and transport associations but also for their passengers. The data can be used in customer apps and route planners – via interfaces and a traffic light system – to indicate, for instance, that the next bus is empty, half full or full.

APC in real time works really well

Reliable, precise and proven

We at DILAX have been providing our customers with real-time APC for several years. We have gained extensive experience in various projects with customers in Switzerland, Sweden, France, Germany and Canada, setting up and operating real-time counting with the highest accuracy and reliability for the entire fleet. Now during the pandemic, this know-how is really proving its worth. We are experts at planning, preparing and implementing these projects.

Game-changing data for public transit

for every trip through town

The counting data not only shows the current occupancy at stop X at this exact moment but also on the route, even in sections, if sensors have been installed at the transitions within the railcars at well. That’s because the number of occupied seats and available standing room change at each stop and also between stops. Passengers walk through the compartments in search of, quiet areas and free space and the door that will get them to the exit the fastest.

With machine learning and AI, the data collected can even be used to generate occupancy predictions on the route. This allows passengers to assess in advance whether the train or bus they want to take in 30 minutes will be as full as it is now ten stops away.

When data turns into quality

Using the same principle, DILAX Live Occupancy Monitoring can also determine and display passenger frequencies on the platform and at the stop in real time. Ultimately, this also helps to recognize, plan and meet demands – with better and more service.

Real-time APC data provides transport companies with high-quality information. The counting data becomes more precise, enabling faster reactions to acute needs and growing demand. The new quantity of APC data is valuable raw material for business intelligence for local public transport. Used in conjunction with other data sources, such as ticket sales, weather info, vacation calendars and events, they provide new insights into the use of their services as well as new ideas that make boarding better.

Every passenger pays and pays off

Investing in trust

The number of passengers getting back on board buses and trains is of utmost importance. First and foremost, to ensure the profitability of public transport. But also to make sure that necessary investments in modern public transport will not be postponed by cities and municipalities. The facts about the risk of infection in buses and trains are one thing. Fortunately, the risk is low – according to various studies from France, Germany and the USA. Nevertheless, passengers are staying away out of fear of getting infected with Sars-CoV-2.

There is still room for a safe journey

This feeling of insecurity can only be reduced with trust. And trust is created through transparency, information and real change. Transparency shows me what my transport company is doing to facilitate social distancing and prevent vehicles from being too full. The information for my travel planning is data analyzed according to a traffic light system: How full is the next bus or the next subway? These two aspects, equipping transport with sensors and displaying occupancy in real time, are a visible and noticeable change. Ideally, I’ll always find a free seat when I board – not just during the pandemic but afterwards as well.


Why is real-time information on public transport occupancy valuable for everyone?

  • It supports social distancing: a responsible service for protecting passengers and employees
  • It strengthens customer relationships: data helps when deciding to travel on public transport: will it be packed?
  • It improves the balance sheet: every customer counts ¬– in the budget
  • It helps meet planning objectives: ensuring transport security and supporting CO2 reductions
  • It improves information quality: trip planning gets easier – when do I go where?
  • Highest accuracy of automatic passenger counting: real counting without extrapolations
  • It supports agility: where and when is an ad hoc increase of services needed?
  • It optimizes connectivity: by using data for MaaS

Moving people

requires trust

McKinsey: Restoring public transit amid COVID 19 (June 2020)

“Transport operators will also need the technology to constantly monitor demand and manage scheduling. And they will need to safeguard their employees. Riders, too, will play crucial roles in bringing public transit back up to speed by adapting their travel habits and behavior.”

Road Diet

Mobility trends 2021

“Road Diet marks the departure from the model of the car city and the arrival at urban quality of life for the benefit of all: Cities are converting car-centered streets and parking lots into public spaces of mobility, the space for driving and parking is being reduced, bike lanes and sidewalks are being expanded and prioritized together with public transport. This trend has been greatly accelerated by the COVID 19 pandemic.”

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