An automatic passenger counter system is a type of electronic device designed to count the number of passengers boarding and disembarking at each stop. Together with modern passenger information system solutions, these tools are crucial technologies that every transportation agency should invest in. If you are still relying on manual (and often inaccurate) methods of generating passenger data, it is time to switch to more reliable and less tedious means of collecting important passenger statistics, which will ultimately help to improve your services. Talk to Transign today to explore your options.

Transit networks with an integrated passenger information system are able to eliminate the need for schedule checkers that used to collect rider information manually—a far less reliable approach for collecting accurate rider information, especially since manual tracking is very limited in its capacity to actually provide a real view of transit ridership. With an automatic passenger counter, every single person that goes on-board and alights a public transit vehicle at every possible stop of a transit route can be monitored and recorded, which not only simplifies data collection, but enables far greater accuracy and scope for generating database reports on ridership information.

In addition to simplifying data collection, another main advantage of automated passenger information and counting systems is reduced cost, although some may find initial start-up to be high. Long-term benefits, however, more than justify the investment especially when you think about the savings you will get out of eliminating the need to hire more employees in order to manually collect information to the same extent as these systems can.

Exactly how do passenger counting systems work? Most devices are designed with two sets of sensors (one pair each), installed at the same height or level of the front and rear doors of a transit vehicle. When passengers pass through entrance or exit doors, they break the infrared beam that the sensors emit, causing the device to record the activity (either boarding or alighting), determined by the order in which the beams were broken. Automatic passenger counters are great for providing gross ridership levels, but stop-level ridership can likewise be determined with the help of automated vehicle locators and GPS systems that allow for location-specific data collection. When transit agencies are able to collect accurate ridership information, they are able to adjust routes accordingly and serve areas with the greatest ridership more frequently or dispatch more fleet to serve the same areas, hence providing better service quality for passengers.