We introduce the PCT1 – our new passenger counting sensor for public transportation
For operators of public transport, designing timetables is one of the most important and most complex tasks. In doing so, the operating hours, time between connections and routes should not be changed arbitrarily, but ideally based on facts instead. Only then can important factors – such as economic or environmental efficiency or passenger and staff satisfaction – be taken into account.
Xovis has been faced with this issue on many occasions. Since 2008, the Swiss company has been exploring how flows of people can be counted and measured. It has developed a technology that has proven successful. The company is now the market leader in the area of 3D sensors, which are seen often in the retail segment and in passenger tracking solutions at airports. From the outset, the open IT architecture of the Xovis sensors was decisive in ensuring their success.
The company has now set itself the task of bringing its expertise into the field of public transport. Christian Studer, Chief Product Officer at Xovis, explains: “When carrying out projects in airports, railway stations, shopping malls and pedestrian zones, public transport links often play a central role. After all, managing the flow of people does not end on the platform. Without reliable technology, it is almost impossible for operators of public transport to assess the dynamics of passenger movements or convert this into usable data.”
Xovis PCT1 sensor for automatic passenger counting on vehicles
The newly developed Xovis PCT1 – a sensor for automatic passenger counting – is thus tailored specifically to the transport sector. Using the PCT1, it is now also possible to take advantage of the precision offered by Xovis technology in the public transport sector. The PCT1 takes the tried-and-true 3D technology of the PC-Series from Xovis and adds everything required for use on vehicles.
Christian Studer comments as follows: “Our 3D sensors have been used around the world in the most diverse branches for over a decade now. These include airports and retailers, but also stadiums, hotels, office buildings and festivals, all of which rely on our solutions. In public transport, the needs are similar, but the associated requirements and applicable standards are different. We therefore adapted our technology according to these conditions and made it suitable for use on vehicles. This has now all been brought together in the PCT1 – our first passenger counting sensor for vehicles. The sensor meets the strict requirements and standards set out for use in buses and trains. The stringent environmental tests were all passed with flying colors.”
Automatic passenger counting is just the beginning. With the PCT1, Xovis is merely laying the foundations for the future of digital passenger analysis. As Studer comments: “From experience, we know that the number of people gives a basis on which to work. However, it’s important to understand the behavior of people as a whole. In public transport, this can be how passengers board and alight at different stops, how bikes or strollers are transported or the topic of accessibility for passengers with disabilities. Classic data collection methods where surveys or observations are made on site are neither precise nor efficient. It’s time for passenger analysis to take the next step forward towards digitization.”
This means exact passenger numbers can be measured wherever a PCT1 is in operation in future, while other data can also be recorded and used for analysis and optimization. As Managing Director at Xovis Transportation, Andreas Pernter is responsible for this new addition to the Xovis product portfolio. Since May 2020, the qualified electrical engineer with additional business management qualifications has been bringing his long-standing experience and expertise in the rail and telecommunications industries to the company.
“I am convinced that most transport operators want to – and indeed have to – know more about their passengers, especially given the current situation with COVID-19. This brings new challenges for them. These range from the exact counting of passengers to handling large, critical passenger flows, all the way through to improving the passenger experience. The solution offered by Xovis fascinated me right from the very beginning. I think that the stereo optical, intelligent 3D sensors bring some absolutely unique possibilities for the market. Together with the whole Xovis team, I am pleased to be playing a part in meeting these challenges,” comments Pernter.
For Xovis, the key aspects for the information technology of tomorrow are standardization and interoperability. The manufacturer wants to become a major player in automated passenger counting in public transport –the PCT1 sensor them that chance.