DB Improves Regional Passenger Experience with Real-Time Capacity Information

Deutsche Bahn (DB) is introducing real-time occupancy information displays on regional routes for the very first time.

These will let passengers know which train cars are quieter and enable them to find a seat more quickly, thus ensuring trains depart on time.

Finding a seat is easier: Shortly before the train arrives, the display board shows in red, yellow and green how full the individual cars are.
Finding a seat is easier: Shortly before the train arrives, the display board shows in red, yellow and green how full the individual cars are

The new system will also help to optimise future rail operations, as dispatchers will be able to use the data on passenger flows and capacity to better coordinate train traffic.

The information is gathered by a comprehensive management system, which measures passenger numbers using various technical approaches, depending on the type of vehicle.

These include counters used in the door area or light sensors that scan the load in the passing carriages.

The system processes the data in a matter of seconds and then passes it on to passengers as occupancy information.

The information will be available to passengers via an app, on the vehicle itself and on the platform, where displays will use a three-stage traffic light logic or in person pictograms for the respective carriages to help passengers position themselves alongside carriages with available seating.

Rolling out over the next few months, the service is currently being piloted in Stuttgart on the S6, S60 and S62 lines and in Hamburg on the S21 and S31 lines.

Next month, these will be joined by regional services between Hamburg and Lübeck on the the RE8, RE80 and the RB86, followed by Rhine-Main region S-Bahn lines in April.

From May, parts of Berlin will be introduced, starting with the Stadtbahn line between Jannowitzbrücke and Zoologischer Garten stations and expanded thereafter.

By the end of 2024, the rail company expects over 1,500 DB Regio carriages ­– a quarter of DB trains in regional transport – to be capable of load display.

Dr Daniela Gerd tom Markotten, DB Board Member for Digitisation and Technology, said:

“With the intelligent capacity utilisation display, we’re making the everyday lives of our passengers noticeably better.

“Only if local transport is comfortable and reliable can we inspire even more people to take the climate-friendly train.”

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