Sensors for Automatic Passenger Counting

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    Sensors for Automatic Passenger Counting

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    tube train, underground, crowd control, smart cities

    The Challenge

    In order to highlight and target passenger safety and security on public transport, Plextek was tasked to develop non-camera, sensor-based technology, which was highly accurate, compact and unobtrusive and could be positioned in the doorways of buses, trains and trams.

    The sensor needed to provide sufficient resolution to identify multiple and simultaneous passenger movements, as well as present the client with a low material and manufacturing cost per unit.

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    The Approach

    We first developed and optimised the necessary algorithms and produced a demonstration of how the customised technology would work. Downward-pointing rows of sensor modules above or next to the doors were installed to count the number of passengers as they entered.

    A range of different ultrasonic and infrared modules were tested. The performance was then evaluated in real-world transport environments to see if there was any discrimination between the recording of people and objects.

    The materials and manufacturing costs of the sensor assemblies were then value engineered and investigated to see if the project was viable.

    underground sign

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    train station crow, passengers

    The Outcome

    Rigorous testing of the sensors proved that they had the potential to be able to overcome camera-based limitations and were able to distinguish individuals entering or leaving to very high accuracy. It was also found to be a feasible and effective solution on a variety of forms of transport, including trains, the tube, buses and also at airports.

    We delivered two evaluation options; a single sensor and a dual-sensor system, for additional accuracy and resilience. Finally, we established mechanisms to reduce manufacturing costs and recommended the next pre-production steps.