Development Board – Kits Projects

LTD SMRT Project (Safe Monitored Rider Transit)

The proposed new LTD public transportation system uses people counters on the bus system to get an accurate measure of rider tendencies across different routes at specific times. Each bus will be equipped with two sensors which will generate numeric data no larger than 4 bytes of memory at any given time. The data will then be wirelessly transferred to LTD headquarters once per minute. Having this information will allow LTD to more efficiently plan their bus routes, which will create a safer and more comfortable public transportation system.

To successfully perform this project, we have developed a system to accurately record how many people are on a given bus at any time and location. This inexpensive method, is accurate, requires little setup, and does not take up much space. For example, it would replace older methods of people counting that usually consist of an individual taking notes with a clipboard. The sensor system will keep track of when people enter or exit the bus and record the data. The sensors use IR beams that will reflect off of the passenger’s clothing. Direction is detected because the Arduino board has two IR sensors placed side-by-side and are able to determine the direction of the person by the order by which the IR beams are reflected back.

Safe Monitored Rider Transit

After completing of the project, LTD will be able to redesign their route system based on actual usage data from their buses. Data will document ridership usage 7 days of the week at both peak and low-use hours of operation. Often buses are overcrowded at high-traffic commute times, but can be nearly empty at other times of the day. Not only is overcrowded transportation a safety and comfort concern, under crowded bus transportation is inefficient and potentially detrimental to the environment. This project is able to supply the LTD transportation network with the data that is needed to assist in the structuring of a sustainable transportation bus system in Eugene and Springfield that safely and efficiently transports members of the community.

The LTD SMRT project has the ability to connect an invaluable transit system to those it serves through the smart use of sensor technology. Once installed, the sensor network has the power to communicate user populations of each bus, informing that transit system to pursue its mission with efficacy and efficiency. This project is geared towards transforming the Eugene/Springfield community into a smart city, which uses investments in technologies to better run the city. These investments, in theory, will create more efficient, sustainable and safe infrastructure for the residents.

Context  

The current state of safety in public transportation has been researched but continues to have a need for adaptation because of the changing dynamics of transportation. We noticed there is significant literature about what it means to be overcrowded and what the concerns are with overcrowded transportation. Overcrowded public transportation can be problematic due to safety concerns. The primary concerns with overcrowding are stress and injury from the overcrowding itself, dissatisfaction, and the possibility of increased risks in the event of an accident (Li and Hensher, 2013).

In particular importance to us is defining what it means for a bus, or any form of public transportation, to be considered overcrowded. Overcrowdedness can be attempted to explain objectively, like Li and Hensher, or more subjectively, Mahudin. What it means to be overcrowded can be interpreted by different people in different way. For this reason the use of a more objective approach, which aims to understand how the perception of over crowdedness varies, is more achieving for our project. Europe and Australia’s standard for unacceptable crowding is when the number of passengers reaches 4 per square meter. More aptly the USA holds a standard of 5 people per square meter and China’s threshold is 8 people per square meter (Li and Hensher, 2013). Public rail often uses a calculation called load factor, which is the number of passengers divided by the number of seats. For example, if every seat is occupied, the load factor would be 1(Li and Hensher, 2013). This factor can be used to determine if a bus is overcrowded, however, like rail transportation, the load factor varies in significance dependent on how long the distance is traveled.

Unacceptable crowdedness in public transportation is especially a safety concern for the disabled populations within a community. According to the international policy think-tank UITP(Union Internationale Transports Publics), massive communal transit systems are the vehicles for future and present mobility needs. The organization states that “If public transport is to become tomorrow’s mode of choice, public transport operators will need to become true mobility providers and system integrators.” Lowering maximum “safe” occupancies may be a solution to inequality within LTD’s ridership. Within UITP’s Priority Topics page it is written that “public transport needs to do more to stay in sync with people’s changing behaviours and evolving lifestyle habits. This can mean reconfiguring vehicles to free up space or even a fundamental network redesign, to actively seek out mobility demand line by line, district by district”. The popular belief that transport systems are slow or unresponsive to rider’s mobility and accessibility demands gives transportation authorities reason to solicit technologies and research that can visualize inefficiencies. Studies such as the one being proposed can advance understanding of riders’ demands and requirements for safe transport.

Our projects primary objective to is efficiently and cost-effectively record usage of the LTD bus system and visualize this data for LTD in a way that could aid making decisions on increasing the safety of riders, one way or another based on project observations.

Objectives and Goals  

The following questions will guide the process and potential outcome of the Lane Transit District ‘SMRT’ (Safe Monitored Rider Transit) Bus Safety Capacity System.

Are LTD bus routes permitting overcrowded and otherwise unsafe conditions for riders at peak hours of operation?

Do ‘safe’ maximum occupancies exist within the public transit community?

Could a safe maximum occupancy of LTD buses be established via a people counting sensor that accounts for time of day?

If rider safety is being compromised, what is the cause of overcrowded conditions at peak hours of operation?

Intended Outcomes:

1. Enable LTD staff to visualize bus capacity in near real-time

2. Identify a standardized ‘safe maximum occupancy’ of bus types within the LTD fleet based

on established metrics in related literature

4. Equip LTD with a data-communicable bus fleet

5. Allow LTD to both evaluate safety and efficiency of current route schedule and make amendments if so desired in concert with compiled rider count data

6. Allow LTD to have access to rider usage of all of the their bus lines and use to aid future decision making

Scale and Scope

The goal of this project is to provide LTD will rider usage data from every bus in there fleet, which will allow them to schedule the number of buses at a given time, the size of the buses at a given time and schedule more efficient bus times for specific spots. The scope of this project is the entire Springfield/Eugene area and will measure every active bus, giving the schedulers a permanent and detailed dataset of rider usage.

Scale and Scope

Knowing crowdedness of the entire LTD bus system will be a unique network that will allow for real-time, continuous full coverage. This project can be easily replicated in different cities because of its simplicity and low cost. Within reason, it could also be replicated across other types of public transportation. The scope and scale of this project are specifically concentrated on bus transportation in the Eugene/Springfield area, but this project has potential to impact the entire sector, creating safer and more efficient public transportation.

For More Details: http:  LTD SMRT Project (Safe Monitored Rider Transit)

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