AI for more accurate occupancy predictions and increased passenger comfort
Knowing how full a bus or train will be allows passengers to adjust their travel plans accordingly and switch to a less busy connection if necessary. This requires reliable real-time information on occupancy levels, as provided by MOBILEguide, our occupancy information and passenger guidance system. The technological challenge lies in providing a solid database to determine a vehicle’s expected occupancy rate. MOBILEguide uses state-of-the-art technology and sophisticated algorithms based on cutting-edge system architecture. If vehicles are not equipped with counting sensors, then other data sources are used, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals from smartphones or requests to connection information and the Mobilithek platform of the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport, an open data portal that provides mobility, geo and weather data.
The current occupancy rate is determined on the basis of the transferred boarding and alighting data after each departure from a stop, linked with timetable data and checked for plausibility. This provides an actual measured number of passengers in a vehicle. Using the vehicle capacities, the current load is calculated and stored.
A patented process and an AI algorithm are used to predict how busy a vehicle will be. This is done by matching real-time occupancy rates in the back-office system with typical boarding and alighting behavior at the next stop, which is obtained from historical data. In this way, the expected number of alighting passengers is also taken into account. INIT’s solution outperforms conventional systems in terms of reliability.
The information can then be displayed for the dispatcher in the Intermodal Transport Control System MOBILE-ITCS, for example. In addition, occupancy information can be distributed via passenger information channels, for example via apps or the transport companies‘ websites. This allows passengers to adjust their travel plans accordingly and, if necessary, switch to less crowded connections, which in turn ensures a more evenly distributed passenger load.