Real-time crowding information consists in giving information to passengers about the load of the metro trains.
- The usage of metro by Stockholm population have been steadily increasing every year. In some periods of the day, especially peak hours the metro trains tend to be very crowded. Passenger load in peak hours tend to be unevenly distributed with some metro trains with loads over the capacity and others with more free space, which deteriorates the public transport experience. People don’t have information about the metro train crowd and they tend to just enter in the first they see .
- With a real-time crowding information (RTCI) people will be able to see in real-time the load of the metro trains, and then decide in which one they will enter. The implementation of this practice consists in having the information in two formats: visual (an overhead screen) and vocal (through speaker system). The information is collected by an officer stationed in the previous station that will evaluate the metro train load in 3 levels: low, average and high .
-The main beneficiaries of this practice are the metro users and the subway systems operators.
 Zhang, Y., Jenelius, E., & Kottenhoff, K. (2017). Impact of real-time crowding information: a Stockholm metro pilot study. Public Transport, 9(3), 483–499. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12469-016-0150-y
A basic set of system solution includes two crowding detection subsystems, two information display subsystems and one data processing subsystem, and the monthly rental fee is 32,000 kr (3,100€).
Total installation time for a basis system is approximately 5 working days for two workers.
Evidence of success
- Estimation that 25% of the passengers noticed, understood and considered the provided information useful;
- RTCI reduced the share of passengers in the most crowded car by 4,1% (increasing the load in the less crowded car by 4,1%).
- Biggest challenge from technical side is: Integration with existing information system
- Biggest challenge from business side is: Long decision time from local metro/train stakeholders to system implementation
Potential for learning or transfer
Crowded metro trains around peak hours are a problem in almost every metro station in the world which deteriorates the experience in commuting in this mode of transport. RTCI may be a valuable and not expensive tool to disperse the loads through all the trains. For movable RTCI system, once user demands are confirmed, it takes 2 months in equipment purchase and logistic, and one month for equipment test and assembly in Rock-Tech laboratory. System installation time is also approximately 5 working days . So, total lead time is 3-4 months.
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