This project investigates how to improve the information provided to passengers about an approaching train to influence their behaviour on the platform. Knowing the facilities available on each carriage before a train arrives could help passengers decide where to wait on the platform. The sequence of specific carriages that make up a train and its occupancy is already collected by some train operating companies. However, not all of this data is used to inform passengers; typically, only the number of carriages is given. As a result, when the train arrives, passengers often rush to a carriage further down the platform if they see an emptier one as it passes, while cyclists might rush to find a bicycle store. This behaviour can slow boarding, reduce safety and degrade passenger experience. To help address these problems, this project establishes the key information that passengers would utilise to decide an appropriate place on the platform to wait for their preferred carriage.
Better data about each train’s make-up will soon be available but this is unlikely to provide consistent real-time network-wide information as the points at which this data is recorded will be few and far apart and will not help when there are disruptions, cancellations and short notice changes to services.
This project will explore from the passengers' perspective what specific combinations of information about the approaching train would be beneficial, and how this varies across certain passenger types. The project will evaluate whether making this additional information available to passengers has a real effect on their behaviour. A technical prototype will be created to demonstrate how to automatically capture the accurate and up-to-date data about the make-up of the train needed to provide this enhanced passenger information.
The project brings together a range of expertise, including Computer Science and Security and specialists (University of Surrey) and User-centred design and human factors experts (Loughborough University), all of whom have experience of rail research projects and trials.
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