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Innovation Enables Better Passenger Journeys

12 November 2013

An innovative product developed by Costain is helping owners and operators of public transport assets understand passengers’ movements and behaviours within their properties.

COpath was originally conceived as a way of helping Costain understand where to erect hoardings when undertaking construction and maintenance works at railway stations and airports. By better understanding passenger flows it would be possible to optimise the space available for construction while minimising the impact on passengers.

Previously, these flows had been calculated by people standing on platforms with clipboards, manually counting people who passed them – an imperfect and inaccurate method.

To deliver the COpath solution Costain has partnered with technology company Path Intelligence, leaders in understanding people movements in the retail sector. The system uses a number of sensors that detect the signals emitted by all mobile phones entering a train station or other area. The sensors do not collect any personal information, but instead allocates a designation to each one and records its movements through an area.

“We soon realised that the quantity and quality of data that COpath could gather had much wider applications than just during construction. The data can be used for such applications as relieving congestion, optimising day-to-day operations and improving the retail offering,” said Technology Development Manager, James Forward.

To help make sense of these huge data sets, Costain and Path Intelligence employ a team of experienced analysts. This allows them to turn this data into information that their clients can use to make positive changes.

“Take passengers in an airport, for example. Using COpath data we can understand how to reduce queue times,  how to tailor staffing to better suit demand and which retail units are best suited to which areas of the airport,” said Group Innovation and Knowledge Manager, Tim Embley. “It provides asset owners and operators insights to enable them to create a better journey experience for their passengers."