CCTV, sensors and WiFi technology will be used to automatically count passengers on selected buses under a three month trial being run by Transport for London.
The agency is running the trial to determine which techniques provide the most accurate real time data on passenger numbers as it seeks to replace the manual counts currently used to help plan routes and inform investment decisions.
Methods to be trialled include cameras aimed at the floor observing the footsteps of passengers as they board and disembark the bus, real-time analysis of existing safety camera footage, sensors placed over the doors, analysis of changes to the bus’s weight and air pressure and use of depersonalised WiFi data.
The trial gets underway this Friday (June 8th) on seven buses, each of which will display posters to ensure passengers are aware of the data that’s being collected.
Simon Reed, Head of Surface Technology and Data at TfL, said: “Technology is transforming our lives and creating huge potential to improve how we use and operate public transport.
“This short trial is an exciting opportunity to make it easier for everyone to use buses in London.
“We use a range of methods, such as ticketing data and manual paper surveys, to understand how customers travel across London, but we cannot measure in real time the number of people on a given bus.
“We hope this trial will show us the best way to identify real-time bus usage, which in turn could help us plan our network better, run it more effectively and greatly enhance live customer information.”