WHY INFODEV’S APC SYSTEM IS A GOOD INVESTMENT FOR TRANSPORT AGENCIES?
By Valérie Lapointe, International Sales and Marketing Advisor at Infodev EDI
The main incentive to install an Automatic Passenger Counting system in your fleet should be to capture incredibly useful data to support crucial decisions, improve operation efficiency and increase customer satisfaction.
An APC system can easily and accurately answer questions such as:
- What is my ridership this: month, day or year?
- Do I need to deploy additional vehicles for the city center main routes?
- What is my passenger per kilometer ratio?
- And many others!
Nevertheless, transport agencies still have major concerns about investing in an APC system
- Initial Cost
- Time Investment
- Installation Difficulty
- Maintenance Necessities
What makes Infodev EDI’s APC different from other counting systems on the market?
- Our Raw Accuracy & Reliability
- The technical field expertise of our team
- Our capacity to count in complex transit environments
In this white paper you will learn more about:
Counting Passengers in Complex Transit Environments
Associated Costs & ROI
What about installation complexity?
We designed simple solutions that are easy to install in new as well as IN refurbished vehicles.
Infodev APC system is made of a sensor bar, the DA-400 and of a counting computer, the Gateway 400. Both devices have a bolt-on installation design that reduce the time needed to install the devices. If you install the DA-400, you will simply need to screw the sensor bar and connect only one cable to the GW-400. If an installation behind the panel (flush mounted) is preferred, holes will then be required in the door panel, but the installation process will still involve minimal modifications to the vehicles. Once installed you do not need to waste hours calibrating the system, because it has already been calibrated in our factory!
Our specialists, and your team as well (once trained by us), will take approximately 5 hours to install an APC system on a 2 door bus and 10 to 15 hours to install one on a train car.
On this note, Infodev partook to a very successful refurbishment project in the UK, where a complete train has been refurbish in 9 days, from which only one afternoon was necessary to do the cabling of the APC and one day to install the sensors and counting units.
What if the project takes place in a complex transit environment?
Most solutions out there will compensate by decreasing their accuracy, not us.
The DA-400 was originally developed to overcome low door height usually found in old British trains that are still running. The UK has one of the oldest rail network in Europe and to this day, significant parts of the rolling stock in operation are still quite old. Refurbish work are regularly deployed, but increasing the door dimensions is rarely part of the refurbishment, as it is a complex and expansive work. Door height can therefore be as low as 1.6 m. The APC market is currently filled with camera-based systems that require a minimum of 1.9 m installation height, which makes cameras automatically an inconceivable option. To not require a minimal height for the installation therefore comes as a great strength in the public transportation industry, where thousands of different vehicles, door dimensions and installation obstacles are encountered.
Also note that Infodev’s technology is not affected by ambient light variations and continues to count accurately in low and high contrast scenarios and even in absolute darkness. It might seem obvious, but Infodev’s experience in the transport industry has proven that during some period of the day the sun level and orientation can cause major visibility and detection problems in buses, trams and trains.
Is Infodev’s technology accurate enough ?
we are literally champions of raw accuracy.
Infodev have been counting people and passengers for more than 25 years. Years of data have been recorded and hundreds of accuracy tests have been made to the APC system. In the past 10 years, Infodev has been able to deliver an average accuracy of 98.46% in trains and 98.35% in buses to its customers. These accuracy results are raw data recorded onboard the vehicles without any application of correction factors, profiling or statistical manipulation.
In the past 10 years, Infodev has been able to deliver an average accuracy of 98.46% in trains and 98.35% in buses to its customers!
How do we achieve these results?
The technology itself and the sensor that covers the entire door width is one of the reason. With multiple active sensors integrated in a single sensor bar, the field of view is multiplied and has therefore less chance of being obstructed by objects or people. This enables the detection of multiple people crossing at the same time.
The sensor is placed close to the edge of the entrance, this way the outside field of view will be pointing close to the “gap”: a key place where people do not dally – they either go in or out at that point. This characteristic is a key factor in achieving 97.5% to 99.5% raw accuracy. Placing the sensor closer to the inside would avoid the problem of reducing door height and clearing door mechanism movements, but at the price of much lower accurate results.
The second reason for our accurate results: our technology also has the ability to bypass obstacles of transit environment, such as light, door height and stairs.
Finally, the knowledge and understanding of passenger behavior accumulated by our technologists over the years also plays a major role in achieving these results. We know that numbers matters and so, we devote ourselves to adjust detection parameter and study passenger behavior to deliver the very best accuracy possible.
We know that from one year to the next, or from a bus stop to another, the variations between counts can be extremely small: 1% or 2%. Such small percentage might seem insignificant, but with all the boarding and alighting events that takes place in trains and buses every week, this 1% becomes in fact truly impactful. This is why it is crucial to prioritize a technology that is accurate enough to provide you with stable and precise numbers in real time, every single time and in every kind of environment. Technologies that deliver 90% to 95% accuracy will therefore not be sufficient to support a million dollar decision, neither technologies that apply correction factor. Because based on these kind of innacurate results, you might end up investing in the wrong place. And remember that in real-time you can’t play with the numbers, you have to get it right the first time!
Does Infodev’s Systems requires Heavy maintenance?
No, Infodev’s equipment is renowned for its reliability.
The mean time between failures (MTBF) is a well-known indicator of reliability in the IT industry. It indicates the average working time you can expect of your system between failures. It is crucial that both the components and the complete system architecture, supporting the network environment, are reliable. The average MTBF rate of Infodev EDI components is 500 000 hours, meaning that it takes up to 57 years between failures, but the important calculation to make should be applied to the whole system. For one train with 8 doors, the MTBF estimation is 90 910 hours, which is over 12 years. Let’s just say that you shouldn’t have to perform heavy maintenance for many years after the implementation of Infodev’s APC system.
During these years, monitoring and troubleshooting are intended to be simplified by built-in condition monitoring and remote intervention capabilities. It enables Infodev to watch each and every sensor on the fleet and to intervene without vehicle attendance too many issues. This ensures that the vehicles are constantly reviewed and remain trouble free; providing consistent statistical data integrity. The only actual maintenance you will need to do is to wipe the lenses with a lint-free cloth once a year! And if you are wondering, no, you will not need to recalibrate the sensors every year nor after 5 years. In fact, Infodev EDI’s APC will work for more than 15 years without any major intervention.
Aren’t All APC Systems Time Consuming and expensive?
No, An APC system will actually help you save time and money!
All those innumerable reports you have to produce for the management: ridership, passenger/km ratio, time adherence reports, NTD reporting and all of the other excruciating long report, can easily be generated by our APC solution. Indeed, Infodev APC systems and software will provide all the data you need and will also produce tables and graphs in just a few clicks.
The APC system will help you analyze and optimize your current transit performance as well as your upcoming results, thanks to Infodev EDI’s forecasting tools.
It is understandable that at first, purchasing an APC system for an entire fleet might seem expensive, but it is important to evaluate the costs of an APC system for its entire life cycle and as a long-term investment. As previously mentioned, Infodev’s APC system requires very low maintenance and therefore has a very low life cycle cost. It is then possible to divide the upfront investment in more than 15 years of use while you cumulate return on investment (ROI).
What kind of ROI can you expect?
- Improve your fleet efficiency
- Save valuable employee time
- Justify changes to services
- Facilitate revenue sharing
- Improve the planning and scheduling of your transit
- Reallocate resources to meet actual demand, even in real time
We hope that this white paper eliminated some concerns you might have had regarding the use and the advantages of Infodev EDI’s APC system.
If you didn’t get enough information about our technology or believe that you or your managers should give our APC system a try, please contact me. It will be my pleasure to provide you with as much information as you want: Info@infodev.ca.