Icomera combined its technology and expertise with Glimpse Analytics and South Western Railway (SWR) to trial an advanced, software-based AI video analytics solution to monitor train occupancy levels in real-time.

SWR has offered its passengers a way to travel safely and confidently post-pandemic by leveraging the power of Icomera’s X-Series wireless Internet connectivity & applications hosting platform & Glimpse Analytics’ advanced CCTV analytics software.

SWR

Operating over 1,500 services each weekday across the network, SWR employs more than 5,000 employees and provides commuter inter-urban, regional and long-distance services to passengers in South West London and southern counties of England and Island Line services on the Isle of Wight, as well as providing connectivity to the ports and airports in the region.

As well as commuters and business travellers, SWR transports leisure travellers across the region, to many tourist and heritage sites, and the numerous major sporting and social events that take place along the route every year.

 

Glimpse Analytics

Glimpse is a global leader in analytics and insights for the physical world.

By connecting their industry-leading Computer Vision Technology with existing CCTV infrastructure, Glimpse is able to deliver powerful business data and unparalleled insights from every corner of any environment in Real-Time.

Processing over 50,000,000 points of data every day through their innovative video analytics platform, Glimpse’s technology is used by over 300 of the world’s largest organizations across retail, travel, hospitality, and real estate, to improve safety and security, drive operational efficiencies, automate tasks & enhance customer experience.

Reassuring Passengers Post-Covid

As passengers gradually return to public transport after experiencing considerable uncertainty, transport operators are looking for the most effective ways to improve passenger confidence and journey experience while minimising the spread of Covid.

As with other aspects of the industry’s post-Covid recovery, giving passengers added certainty about their journey is best achieved through digitalisation – specifically by enabling passengers to monitor the occupancy of trains in real-time, using their digital devices.

The ability to effectively gauge occupancy levels inside vehicles makes it easier for passengers to choose less crowded environments to travel in, ensuring that they are safely socially distanced throughout their journey.

To see how this use case could be realised, SWR selected Glimpse Analytics to develop an innovative proof of concept, leveraging the power of Icomera’s onboard hardware platform.

An Exciting Collaboration Between Global Technology Leaders

Glimpse’s onboard software connects to existing video surveillance cameras to capture, analyse, and report occupancy data in real-time in the form of a RAG (Red/Amber/Green) status.

Passengers can see how busy individual train carriages are at any time via station information screens, a downloadable app, and SWR’s website – effectively helping passengers maintain social distancing and avoid overcrowding.

The software runs natively on the same Icomera X-Series wireless connectivity platform already used to support other systems, such as Passenger Wi-Fi. With no need for additional hardware, the video-based passenger counting solution can be installed ‘over the air’ quickly and efficiently, offering considerable time and cost savings compared to similar solutions.

Analytics information collected from onboard video feeds is converted to metadata and fed back to software integrated into the transport operator’s back-office system. Passenger privacy is protected, as all data collected by the system is fully anonymised and footage is not recorded or stored.

A Timely Trial

In April 2021, Icomera began an exciting collaborative test pilot with Glimpse Analytics and SWR: A trial of an industry-first software-based system that uses AI to provide real-time vehicle occupancy information.

The trial, which took place on SWR’s Desiro fleet, travelling from London to Basingstoke, Portsmouth, Southampton, and Weymouth was particularly timely, as travel restrictions had begun to ease, and the railway maximised efforts to allow customers to travel with confidence again.

The tests offered an exciting proof of concept showing how Icomera’s technology can be leveraged to go beyond Wi-Fi and offer a host of operational and safety benefits to transport operators and their passengers.

To measure the system’s accuracy, SWR monitored passenger numbers on the bank holiday weekend of May 2021, which saw the highest number of passengers on board since the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

Safe Journeys for Passengers, Smart Metrics for Operators

The ability to effectively gauge occupancy levels inside vehicles makes it easier for passengers to choose less crowded environments to travel in, ensuring that they are safely socially distanced throughout their journey.

For transport operators, understanding passenger travel patterns and volumetrics in the post-COVID world is also vital for managing timetabling and fleet planning. The video-based passenger counting solution is installed ‘over the air’ quickly and efficiently.


Transport operators can capture and analyze real-time passenger occupancy from each carriage, across their entire fleet. Analysing passenger occupancy throughout the day also makes it possible for transport operators to assess peak travel times and plan their timetables accordingly.

By knowing exactly how many passengers are using each train carriage at any given time, transport operators can provide a safe, socially distanced service for their passengers – A vital step in improving the passenger experience and confidence during the pandemic.

What SWR Say:

We know that there are lots of things that feel uncertain at the moment, that’s why we’re doing all we can to help make travelling with us as smooth and safe as possible.

In addition to helping maintain social distancing, and improving customer comfort and convenience, we hope to use this enhanced information to inform decision making in our control room, and further improve the punctuality and reliability of our services.”

Peter Williams, Commercial Director, SWR

What Glimpse Say:

The advantages our ground-breaking AI technology can offer to operators and passengers are numerous. We can improve onboard passenger safety with a solution installed quickly and inexpensively, with no need for on-site visits in most cases.

Our tried and tested analytics system can also be used to monitor passengers’ adherence to safety measures (for example, wearing face coverings), offering extra peace of mind.”

John Price, CEO, Glimpse Analytics

What We Say:

As passengers return to public transport, they will look for reassurances regarding their personal safety and quality of experience.

The ability to effectively monitor ridership numbers in real-time provides this reassurance, tying in perfectly with our mission to make public transport a safer and more attractive option.

This pilot with Glimpse demonstrates how Icomera technology can be used to deliver applications that offer passengers journey certainty, while delivering considerable operational benefits to transport operators.”

Peter Kingsland, SVP UK, Australia & Asia, Icomera