Impact of real-time crowding information: a Stockholm metro pilot study

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, mode - subway/metro, operations - crowding, operations - capacity, ridership - behaviour, technology - intelligent transport systems, planning - signage/information, planning - surveys


Crowding, Real-time information, RTCI, Metro, Pilot study


The paper evaluates the impact of real-time crowding information (RTCI) provision based on a pilot study at a Stockholm metro station. During a 6-day test period, RTCI for each car in the next arriving train was provided through a visual display and speakers. The impact is evaluated in three dimensions: (1) passenger attention is analyzed using video analysis; (2) passenger valuation is evaluated with traveler surveys; (3) passenger action is analyzed with in-vehicle passenger load data. It is estimated that around 25% of the passengers noticed, understood and considered the provided information useful for their travel decisions. Further, RTCI had a statistically significant positive impact on the boarding distribution between cars and, as a result, on the downstream in-vehicle crowding in the trains. RTCI reduced the share of passengers boarding the first, most crowded car by 4.3% points for trains that were crowded on arrival, and increased the share of passengers boarding the second, less crowded car by 4.1% points. The findings also suggest that many passengers may value the provided crowding information positively even though it does not change their travel decisions. The results indicate that RTCI may be a useful technology for public transport operators and agencies for increasing the utilization of available train capacity and reducing crowding.


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