UK: Transport for London started a three-month trial to test new methods of counting bus passengers on June 8.

The aim is to find the most accurate real-time automatic passenger counting method. TfL believes that this could lead to improved real-time passenger information about bus services and available accessible space, more effective network management in case of disruption, and better forecasting and planning.

The trial will run on seven buses on routes 55, 47, 222, 507 and 521. The following techniques are to be trialled:

  • cameras pointing at the bus floor to record footsteps of boarding and alighting passengers;
  • real-time analysis of existing CCTV footage;
  • sensors at the doors;
  • analysis of changes to the bus’s weight and air pressure;
  • use of depersonalised wi-fi data.

‘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’, said Head of Surface Technology & Data Simon Reed. ‘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.’