An Automated Passenger Counter (APC) is an electronic device that records the number of passengers boarding and alighting in transit vehicles for every single trip operated. Passenger information system on the other refers to an electronic information system which provides passenger information in real-time. Its function revolves around predictions about arrival and departure times and provision of information about the nature and causes of disruptions. Automated passenger counting and information systems are deployed in buses, light rails, trains, subways and ferry boats. The APC market is expected to grow at the highest rate in Asia-Pacific. Among various application, the APC market generates highest revenue from roadways application.
The adoption of APC systems in Asia-Pacific countries is observed to be the highest among all regions, in the recent years. The governments of countries with large population, such as India and China, are incorporating huge investment projects in their public transit systems, which is accelerating the widespread adoption of this technology. The demand prospects for APC and information systems in the developing countries has been increasing with the involvement of investment entities in transit systems. For instance, in Pakistan, the Asian Development Bank has recently agreed to finance Red Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), which is likely to escalate the demand for APC and information systems in the country.
Among the various devices used in passenger information systems, multimedia display generated highest revenue, due to increase in installation of passenger information display systems (PIDS). North America has been a large contributor to the PIDS market. It upgraded its existing transit structures as well as it plans to install new systems on all of its upcoming transit infrastructure projects. The market in North America, which was an early adopter of APC and information systems, would grow at a moderate pace during the forecast period. The countries in Asia-Pacific, such as India, China and Thailand, are expected to render major growth opportunities to the APC and information systems market during the forecast period, as a result of significant investment in transit infrastructure projects.
Railways has been observed to be the most prospective sector for the APC and information systems market, owing to a surge in the placement of metro rail proposals in the recent past. The rapid expansion of rail networks in the developing countries has been providing significant growth to the market.
The automated passenger counting and information systems record boarding and alighting data. APCs improve accuracy of reporting patronage and analysing transit use patterns. The increase in stringency of government regulations related to submission of ridership data from transit operators is one of the major growth drivers for the market. It has resulted in the increased adoption of APC by transit operators.
The automated passenger counter and information systems further helps the fleet operators in optimizing the operational costs with the use of much detailed information on ridership by every trip, by route, and by stop for any given time period. APCs have been proven to be crucial in tracking data in high passenger volume transit systems and provides real time transit information to operators. Passenger information systems provides better travel experience to passengers with the display of real time information on arrival and departure schedules. It can be accessed physically within a transportation hub or remotely through a web browser or mobile device. However, it is difficult to estimate the tangible financial benefits of employing these information systems. t needs to be taken into account that customers are ready to pay more for a convenient access to timely information.
With the use of advance information solutions in transportation sector, the operators seek to achieve maximum efficiency in operational processes and strives to offer an improved user experience. The automation of information processes leads to significant cost reduction in the long run. The alarming need to expand modern mass transit systems to control the street traffic and to further develop the transportation infrastructure in countries worldwide creates a huge scope for the market of automated passenger counting and information systems.
The high initial investment required in the installation of APC and information systems has been one of the major hindrance for the market growth. It makes the adoption of technology much costlier for underdeveloped and developing nations which constitute the major chunk of market demand in the industry. However, another major challenge towards the deployment of these information systems is the concern about accuracy and reliability of data provided by these systems. Infrared based APCs provide a comparably lower accuracy in passenger counting under conditions of crush-load. The one dimensional active sensor (infrared APCs) is therefore replaced with more advanced video-based and time-of-flight technologies, that are capable of providing an accuracy as high as 95% and above. However, this further adds to the initial installation and maintenance cost of the systems for the fleet operators. However, in the long term, APC and information systems prove to be a cost-efficient solution as it reduces the operational cost, due to which its adoption is expected to increase.
The recent major developments by the major players in the APC and information systems market include collaborations, contracts, agreements and partnerships. For instance, INIT has recently been awarded contract by CDTA New York, U.S., to implement intelligent transportation management systems across its entire fixed-route fleet that will upgrade the automatic passenger counting system and deploy real-time passenger infotainment displays on-board and at various stop locations.
Some of the major players in the automated passenger counting and information system market include Iris-GmbH, HELLA Aglaia Mobile Vision GmbH, Eurotech S.p.A., DILAX Intelcom GmbH, Infodev Electronic Designers International Inc., Cisco Systems, Inc. Siemens AG, Hitachi, Ltd., Huawei Technology Co., Ltd., INIT Innovation in Traffic Systems AG, Clever Devices Ltd., Retail Sensing Ltd., Syncromatics Corp., and Trapeze Group.