INIT introduced a real-time passenger counting solution to aid customers with social distancing onboard their vehicles. Customers with an INIT Automatic Passenger Counting (APC) system and MOBILE-ITCS cellular-based radio on board, can now manage load capacities on their vehicles in real-time. Agencies can relay that information to their riders through passenger information systems or INIT’s DEPARTURESlive app and other third-party apps.
Empowering passengers to make informed decisions about their trips will play a major role in winning back their confidence during COVID-19 recovery. As people begin to rely again on public transit, they will need to know they have choices — like whether to switch to a later bus or another route based on how many riders are already on board. Information about vehicle occupancy rates also equips the agency to better adjust their service levels, for instance, by adding vehicles on overcrowded lines.
The occupancy rate of the vehicle is analyzed in the INIT onboard unit and transmitted to the Intermodal Transport Control System (MOBILE-ITCS) after each stop of the vehicle. The information is calculated in percentages, based on the agency’s predefined values, and displayed to the dispatcher in color codes. For example, a zero to 40% load may display in green, meaning the passenger load is acceptable. If the passenger load percentage is between 50% to 75%, a yellow indictor will alert the dispatcher that the vehicle is reaching its load limit. A red indicator tells the dispatcher that the bus has reached its capacity. The driver can also alert passengers using a “drop off only” message displayed on the head sign to alert passengers waiting at a stop.