Managing passenger flow with Xovis
Already unique in the railway industry for their renowned high-speed trains that run through the Chunnel, Eurostar was one of the first train operators who ever decided to equip their station with a state-of-the-art passenger tracking system. Due to the long history of railway transportation and thus mostly well-aged stations, finding a technology robust enough to handle the constantly changing environmental circumstances in those buildings had been difficult – that is, until Eurostar met Xovis.
Eurostar is the only high-speed train that directly links the UK to France and Belgium via the Channel Tunnel. Eurostar has been taking their travelers from city center to city center since 1994.
Since then, Eurostar has carried over 150 million passengers. The company takes thousands of people a day between the cities of London, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Calais, Disneyland-Paris and now Amsterdam.
The departure process at Gare du Nord (Paris) includes a journey through both French and British Immigration checkpoints, security checks as well as ticket validation – overall thirteen queues occurring over less than 2000 square meters. With very little room for extension and given the surrounding historic masonry, Eurostar constantly needs to increase the efficiency of the departure process and thus requires precisely measured passenger flow data. Finding the right measurement method was hard to do because various light and thermal conditions, as well as a highly complex and variable departure process, make it impossible for most technologies to measure even simple KPIs, such as passenger counts, precisely.
Sixty-nine Xovis 3D sensors of different types make it possible to seamlessly cover the entire departure area and capture the movement of passengers in real time. Based on that, Xovis counts passengers at every resource and in every queue, but also applies its advanced queue detection algorithms to provide accurate waiting times for all processes involved.
Real-time dashboards provide a clear view on operational processes and support on-site staff in decision making. In addition, the historical view on passenger movements and the analysis of KPIs made verifying floor layout changes much easier.
After the upcoming station redesign, Eurostar will ensure maintaining their capability to measure passengers as they flow through the terminal. By collecting historical passenger flow information, Eurostar will even be able to apply predictive analytics to further improve the operational efficiency and passenger satisfaction at their terminals.
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Now that Eurostar has a clear view on the entire departure process at Gare du Nord, alternating floor layouts can be corroborated very conveniently. Having a trusted tool to measure the operational efficiency makes discussions with authorities and ground staff much easier, which helps to review and optimize existing pro- cesses at the station.
In order to improve their passengers’ experience, Eurostar is even planning to inform passengers about expected waiting times through several channels like screens or website; making them yet again one of the first train operators to do so.
"Our need at Eurostar is to accurately monitor the volume of customers at our terminal and the throughput of the station. After having tested a couple other solutions with unsatisfying results, we ran a POC with Xovis and were able to get valid results immediately. We followed it by deploying the Xovis solution in all our control areas at Paris Nord, where we can now efficiently gather helpful and exact information about the behavior of our passengers when they go through our ticket and passport checks.
During the project, the Xovis team demonstrated great professionalism and was able to help us in building the real time dashboards that matched our needs. We have also appreciated their documentation which has avoided issues we often face when implementing these types of technical projects."
Lead Business Systems Manager - Stations