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Automatic passenger counting on buses for local public transport: evaluation of the reliability of a system based on pressure sensors

Summary - The period of the COVID-19 pandemic imposed interpersonal distancing in various places, first of all, for public transport: knowing automatically the passengers on board would have been very useful, but rarely possible. Today, with the pandemic hopefully over, the trend towards MaaS (Mobility as a Service) and an increase in reliability of available instruments as well as more correct LPT scheduling make automatic passenger counting (APC) nowadays an indispensable element on public transport. The aim of this study is to provide local public transport (LPT) managers with reliable data on the actual demand, to be able to both plan and manage the service more accurately, and also for fleet maintenance purposes. As part of an extensive experiment on buses operating in the city of Turin (IT), innovative passenger counting systems were installed to obtain an estimate as accurate as possible of the number of passengers on board: these are based on an already known idea, the use of pressure sensors installed in the bus suspension system and a subsequent algorithm developed by the authors. The sensors, together with the acquisition system, can provide the value of the pressure acting on each suspension of the vehicle, continuously and in real-time, data that can already be acquired on all modern vehicles. The data transmitted by the sensors are converted into an estimate of the number of passengers on board a vehicle using an algorithm and a linear regression model. This equipment, although challenging in concept, can now be implemented quickly and easily based on the settings developed: the results show that it allows very reliable data to be obtained, constituting an economical and advantageous alternative to other APC already present on the market. This instrumentation not only provides an estimate of demand to those who plan the public transport service but it is also useful to those who use it, as it allows them to know the occupancy status of the bus in real-time, which can also be made available at bus stops or on applications.


  • Novembre
Num. 11
Pag. 773