Easy boarding – Passenger flow optimisation

Date: 2022


  • AI
  • Automation
  • Behavioural nudging
  • data analytics
  • Optimisation
  • User experience

The ‘Easy Boarding’ optimisation engine mitigates delays, by taking passenger boarding and alighting data in real-time and visualising the optimal waiting positions for passengers on the platform.

Published : 10, 01, 2023

Can crowd bottlenecks be avoided on the platform?

Passengers often face difficulties boarding trains by not waiting at the most optimal section of the platform. When the train arrives, there is often not enough time to move to an easier train door to board. Consequently, trains are held up by passengers moving/running along the platform, leading to safety issues, stressful passenger experiences and delays in departure.

What is the added value?

Our easy boarding solution finds the safest and most efficient balance between passengers boarding vs those disembarking, reducing the total boarding time.

Our solution

Hitachi European R&D has developed an Easy Boarding Solution to reduce the total time to board trains using:

  • Platform sensor data
  • Real-time train occupancy data
  • Historical disembarking data

Our optimisation engine finds the ideal waiting positions across all platforms and presents recommendations in a visual way to passengers and station staff. The Easy Boarding interface provides real-time updates prompting passengers to adjust their boarding positions.

Proof of technology

Through collaboration with rail station and transport operators, our solution ran historical passenger flow data obtained from station sensors in the UK from 2021. We simulated passenger flow by running the historical data through our optimisation engine and saw a reduction in boarding time by up to 50%.

Improved passenger experience and safety

Several passengers were interviewed face to face to understand their motivations and issues behind where they chose to wait on the platform. With the insights gathered, Hitachi’s Design Lab created several interfaces to prototype ways of solving some of the problems experienced on the platform. Through user interviews, feedback and testing we validated the need for visualised aids to help passengers board easily and safely. An overwhelming proportion of participants confirmed they would ‘Very likely’ move to better platform zones to board if the recommendations were available.

Crowd prevention

In the control room, station staff stressed that knowing where and when to place platform stewards for managing passenger flow was ‘unpredictable’.

Therefore, our control room interface has been well received for its ability to provide forecasted recommendations across multiple platforms giving the station team time to respond to crowd build up.

How to integrate?

The solution can be integrated with existing system sensors from CCTV to infrared beacons for counting passengers anonymously.

For more information, contact our Digital & Data Innovation Lab, Hitachi European R&D, London, UK.

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