The Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) launched a new real-time rider capacity feature as part of the agency’s reNEW Plan — an action plan outlining the agency’s commitment to onboard health and safety.
Powered by automated passenger counter (APC) sensors, the ACT RealTime Rider Capacity feature offers onboard crowding information 24/7, exclusively on the agency’s BRT service, Tempo Line 1T. The feature is currently being introduced in beta mode.
The APC sensors are digitally linked to AC Transit’s GPS tracking of each bus and refreshed every 15 seconds, processing and transmitting data each time a rider boards or exits the Tempo coach. The onboard rider count is then digitally sent to the AC Transit website and the agency’s third-party partners: Transit App, Google, 511, and Moovit.
While Tempo has consistently attracted new riders along its 9.5-mile corridor, onboard seating has diminished to a maximum of 16 riders as a result of social distancing mandates by county public health officials.
To address Tempo rider capacity demands, AC Transit’s software engineers initiated a three-month proof-of-concept trial, testing APC sensors, in-person manual rider counts, and video-based rider counts. The trials demonstrated APC sensors effectively captured onboard crowding data.
As the agency proceeds with evaluations in beta mode and obtaining rider feedback, AC Transit’s engineering team will evaluate the APC sensors’ scalability for potential activation across the agency’s entire bus fleet. Retrofitting for ABC sensors on AC Transit’s buses is expected to be complete in late 2021.