One of the greatest innovations in the transportation industry is the automatic passenger counting system. This is a system that captures the number of passengers that board and alight from buses or other means of ferrying passengers. Unlike most of the manual methods, automatic passenger counting systems are more accurate (up to 95%), easy to use, and easily allow the sharing of data, among other benefits. The systems enables making informed decisions on driving route planning, adjusting times of operation to minimize vehicle overload or poor customer service, responding to ridership trend changes, reducing costs due to optimal vehicle engagement, and so on.
The whole concept of automatically counting passengers has numerous benefits that cut across costs and operational reasons:
Ø Labour savings – Save on the money that would go into training and engaging people in doing manual counting.
Ø Low data cost – Gives reliable and highly-accurate data at a relatively low cost even with a busy service.
Ø Analysis of key indicators – Enables analysis of key performance indicators such as cost per passenger, passengers per mile, and others.
Ø Measuring time – Keeps records of time spent at each stop waiting for passengers.
Ø Crucial data – Collects data for scheduling, predicting, and making other service-related decisions.
Ø Increase revenue – Makes it possible to reconcile the tickets issued and collected revenue as per the passenger numbers, thus eliminating loss of revenue.
Ø Reports – Enables automatic generation of reports and easy sharing.
On its own, an automatic passenger counting system gives very valuable and crucial information. Moreover, the system can be integrated with a vehicle tracking system with GPS, for example the Automatic Vehicle Locator from Eyeride, so that fleet managers can know the whereabouts of a vehicle and the number of people on board.
How the APC system works
Cameras are fitted over each door and connected to a counting unit and software that captures entries and exits. There is an embedded video server which allows users to view live video recordings at the same time with passenger counts. This gives them a chance to monitor accuracy and set the system up over the internet. When the system has been configured, the units send the counts alone over to the network to save space. The counts can also be stored locally.
During the setup phase, users can remotely view the video and check against what the system is counting. With that, they can confirm the amount of passengers counted so that they can be confident with the data they are getting. The system also lets users securely access, configure, and control the units.
Besides, users have the option of gaining entry into the system securely over the internet and see things as they happen, and as data is captured. The counting units can relay data to central storage after a short time, say five minutes if that is required. The data is in various formats, like text, CSV or MySQL, which renders it easy for integration with other systems.
Installing automatic passenger counting systems is one of the best investments for any entity that is still relying on manual methods. Although the installation cost is high, in most cases it is offset by far by the savings realized in the future from its usage, and the great value derived from the data that they provide.