Counting of Rail Passengers
LTG Link is a part of the Lithuanian Railways (LTG), operating since 2019 as a separate company responsible for train travel in Lithuania, international travel, and transit travel to the Kaliningrad region. The number of passengers of the company has been growing steadily over the last few years. In 2016 LTG Link transported 4.4 million passengers, 2017 4.7 million passengers, 2018 5.2 million. In 2019, a record number of people – 5.5 million people – chose to travel by train in Lithuania. However, like most passenger transport companies in the world, LTG Link in 2020 lived up to the pace of Covid-19 challenges. The pandemic restricted train travel, so it is estimated that in 2020 3.3 million passengers traveled by local and international trains (40% less than in 2019).
Significant changes are expected in LTG infrastructure in the coming years: it is planned that by 2027, one of the largest infrastructure projects “Rail Baltica”, will be completed, which will not only speed up freight flows between European countries, but also increase passenger flows between the Baltic States and Poland. LTG LINK also plans to upgrade its passenger train fleet with new electric trains. These trains will run on the railway line “Vilnius – Klaipeda”, which is planned to be fully electrified by 2025. This is the line that carries the most passengers in Lithuania. For these reasons, the number of passengers in Lithuania will likely tend to grow as the world returns to the pre-pandemic period.
In recent years, there has been a growing trend for rail passengers. However, publicly available figures announce the number of passengers carried by train, but these are only approximate numbers of passengers. Current resources and available calculation methodology do not allow LTG LINK to know the exact number of passengers. In addition, no data is collected regarding the passengers traveling without the ticket during the trip. In order to travel in Lithuania by train, you need a ticket, which can be purchased both at the railway station, online, and on the train from the conductor. The conductor is required to scan the tickets of all passengers, but there are factors at this point that create a potential error of passenger calculations.
The main challenge is to find out the exact number of passengers carried by LTG LINK during the calendar year with the least possible error.
Passengers are currently counted as follows:
- One-time tickets sold (at the station, online);
- Fixed-term tickets are scanned on the train;
- Scanned employee badges on the train (which are neither one-time nor fixed-term tickets, i.e. conductor employees who also travel);
- One-time tickets are calculated from sales, not from scanned data from the conductor. The conductor may not notice the passenger or may not be able to scan the ticket (e.g., a large number of passengers on a train or the passenger travels only a few stops), so data of tickets sold is taken to calculations, not scanned tickets;
- It is not possible to say exactly how many passengers traveled from point A to point B (sometimes a passenger has a ticket to a certain city, his ticket is scanned at the beginning of the journey, but he does not get off at the required stop and continues the journey);
- An unclear number of passengers who traveled without a travel ticket (e.g., the conductor did not notice, missed without a ticket or the passenger paid, but did not receive a ticket);
- When there is no connection in the train, the ticketing system hangs and the conductors give hand-written paper tickets, but they are not later counted into the ticket system because there is no such possibility.
By comparing real-time passenger data with ticket sales, it is hoped that such a solution will help to calculate the exact number of passengers more efficiently and to control the number of passengers traveling without tickets on rail journeys.
The solution shall have an analytical system that allows the counting of passengers entering and leaving each station and the “filtering” of accompanying passengers who are not traveling but might go into the train to lead other passengers.
The solution shall have an analytical system that allows the counting of passengers with children, animals, and the counting of bicycles and other large luggage carried by passengers.
The solution shall have an analytical system that allows separation of staff on the train (drivers, conductors) from all the rail passengers.
The analytical system must operate with a very small error (<1%).