It is not usually good to adopt something new under pressure, but sometimes it can really help. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected public transport tremendously. So how can public transport authorities and agencies possibly turn a crisis into a chance?
There is no ready-made solution to that challenge, and it will be a matter not of days but rather years to transform a public transport organisation into a digital and agile company. However, every public transport company can start to prepare for a successful change today. All they need is data – automated passenger counting data (APC). The more the better. Most public transport companies count their passengers on certain lines, on certain vehicles, at certain times. No other data source is as reliable and precise as APC data if you really want to know how many people are using your service.
But to get the most out of APC data, the raw data needs to be matched with schedules, stops, doors, traffic jams or other incidents from other sources. This is a highly complex process, but we at DILAX have been studying and researching this topic for more than 30 years. Our deep market insight, years of experience and our team of excellent, dedicated developers made possible DILAX Citisense, our business analytics tool for passenger counting data. Every day, our DILAX counting sensors collect and evaluate the ins and outs of over 110 million people in about 1,800 cities worldwide.
APC data is crucial for public transport companies and agencies as a performance indicator for revenue. This is a significant task in itself, and everyone who oversees performance reporting knows how important statistically sound sample planning is to comply with the VDV 457 benchmark.
Further, using DILAX Citisense as a business intelligence tool also helps to control and manage timetables, to optimise fleet management, and to measure and predict live occupancy on vehicle level. In combination with additional data which we capture at stations on platforms or with wi-fi tracking data imported from third parties, DILAX Citisense creates an origin-destination matrix, supply and demand analyses and other exciting perspectives on the performance and potential performance of a public transport network.
Soon, we plan to integrate predictive vehicle maintenance and real-time seat monitoring, and also expect to be able to simulate and weave in other new mobility services into our clients’ public transport networks easily and conveniently with DILAX Citisense. As we continuously integrate new technologies and new data sources, our software will offer even more opportunities to drive and accelerate change in urban mobility.
Jan Nicklisch is vice president solution development at DILAX
This article was originally published in the Autumn 2020 issue of The Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.