Mobile Innovation

Phones Help Train Stations Give You a Better Travel Experience

The success of a train station, and its image, is heavily influenced by the ability to handle passenger flow smoothly and efficiently. Documentation of movement patterns is crucial for greater processing efficiency, increased revenue and improved traveler experience.

Rail passenger transport has grown considerably during the last decades. Parallel to the increase in traveler numbers, train stations have transformed into places where people travel and perform activities, such as working, shopping and holding meetings. The combination means that the space is shared by more and more people.

As capacity expansion is extremely expensive due to the dense urban environment in which these stations are situated, the need for valid passenger behavioral data to reduce bottlenecks and improve travelers comfort and safety is crucial.

More and more train stations, such as in The Netherlands and UK, have turned to BLIP Systems’ BlipTrack flow management solution, which includes sensors that work by detecting guests’ mobile devices. By re-identifying devices from multiple sensors, the travel times, wait times and movement patterns become available.

The sensors measure passenger behavior, such as time spent on platforms, shops and other station facilities, time spent by non-travelers, transfers to and from platforms, entrance / exit usage and much more. Management is provided with specific and accurate statistical information on the use of facilities and shops. With this data, the train stations are able to add value of existing facilities and/or new investments, optimize operations, and improve traveler/visitor flow.
Knowing how travelers move is key to maximizing revenue.
Providing management with a better understanding on where and how travelers move enables them to optimize opening hours, signage, shop locations, and general layout to improve the retail tenancy mix and more. By analyzing sales patterns, shop managers are provided with valuable information on how to improve and optimize services, such as resource allocation, product placement and variety as well as performance benchmarking, to ensure optimum revenue.

Early warnings reduce bottlenecks and improve traveler flow.
As the passenger flow is measured in real-time, the solution is also able to provide early warning when congestion occurs. This enables management to take proactive steps to initiate countermeasures, such as wayfinding on information screens or dispatching staffing to regulate the flow. The distribution of travelers ultimately helps reduce bottlenecks, and significantly increases the opportunity for a positive experience with more satisfied and recurring travelers as a result.

Combined data efficiently scales staffing with demand.
With today’s amount of passenger and train data available, such as ticketing machines, train schedules, flow and queue management, and more, train stations are now able to automatically allocate resources and define resource requirements with a much higher degree of accuracy. By combining train operation with known data about passengers, managers can in real-time, automatically and efficiently, scale staffing resources with demand at the right times. By adding future train schedules, expected growth, overall trends, events, holidays and more, traveler volumes can be accurately predicted for the days, weeks and months to come.

To understand and improve individual areas of operations, it is important that the traveler’s journey is seen as one process, rather than as a string of isolated events. The understanding that all individual events influence each other is key to unlocking potential gains.

Please note that this article expresses the opinions of the author and does not reflect the views of Move Forward.

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