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Inference of Transit Passenger Counts and Waiting Time Using Wi-Fi Signals

Started: May, 2018 Ended: June, 2019 Project ID #4W7213 Status: Completed

Results & Findings

Ridership data has traditionally been collected through a combination of manual surveys and Automatic Passenger Counter (APC) systems, which can be time-consuming and expensive, with limited capabilities to produce real-time data. The Smart Station shows promise as an accurate and cost-effective alternative. The advantages of using Smart Station over traditional data collection methods include the following: (1) Wireless, automated data collection and retrieval, (2) Real-time observation of passenger behavior, (3) Negligible maintenance after programming and installing the hardware, (4) Low costs of hardware, software, and installation, and (5) Simple and short programming and installation time. If further validated through additional research and development, the device could help transit systems facilitate data collection for route optimization, trip planning tools, and traveler information systems.  

Objective

The purpose of this project was to explore the use of Internet of Things (IoT) Technology to infer transit ridership and waiting time at bus stops.  Specifically, this study explored the use of Raspberry Pi computers, which are small and inexpensive sets of hardware, to scan the Wi-Fi networks of passengers’ smartphones.

Abstract

Passenger data such as real-time origin-destination (OD) flows and waiting times are central to planning public transportation services and improving visitor experience. This project explored the use of Internet of Things (IoT) Technology to infer transit ridership and waiting time at bus stops.  Specifically, this study explored the use of Raspberry Pi computers, which are small and inexpensive sets of hardware, to scan the Wi-Fi networks of passengers’ smartphones. The process was used to infer passenger counts and obtain information on passenger trajectories based on Global Positioning System (GPS) data. The research was conducted as a case study of the Streamline Bus System in Bozeman, Montana.  To evaluate the reliability of the data collected with the Raspberry Pi computers, the study conducted technology-based estimation of ridership, OD flows, wait time, and travel time for a comparison with ground truth data (passenger surveys, manual data counts, and bus travel times).

Contacts

Sponsors & Partners

  • U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Sponsor

Part of: Mobility and Public Transportation, WTI-SURTCOM, Small Urban, Rural and Tribal Center on Mobility (SURTCOM)

Project Tagged In: passenger counts, waiting times, wi-fi signals, Rasberry Pi

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