Passenger Rail, Technology and IT

Camera trial to judge Melbourne tram passenger volume

Melbourne Tram. Photo: RailGallery.com.au

New camera technology is being tested on Melbourne’s tram network that could in the future tell passengers how many people are on approaching trams.

Victorian public transport minister Jacinta Allan said the trial is investigating technology that could help passengers choose whether to take the first tram that comes along, or wait for one arriving shortly after that may have more space.

New cameras are designed to determine the capacity of trams and tram stops in real time by converting video images into head counts, Allan described.

She said the technology provides non-identifiable data that in the future might be integrated into existing mobile applications.

Information from the trial could also be used to build a better understanding of how people use the tram network, and determine which routes and time of day, services are busiest, the minister added.

“We want to give passengers the information they need to better plan their journey and get where they need to sooner,” she explained.

“We know particular services are more crowded than others, and this trial could give passengers the ability to decide what works best for them.

“This cutting edge technology will help us determine which routes require more frequent services, or greater capacity in the future.”

Cameras have been installed on-board one route 96 tram, as well as on the St Kilda bound platform at three high patronage stops:

  • On Bourke Street at William Street
  • On Bourke Street at Spencer Street
  • On Spencer Street at Collins Street