Woman in facemask pressing button to open train door

Navigating the New World of Commuter Travel in the New Normal

IoT specialist, Shields Energy, urges rail and bus operators to use passenger number downtime to reap the benefits of digitalisation in the future.

Shields Energy is encouraging rail and bus operators to adopt IoT practices now in an effort to manage COVID secure occupancy in the future.

With no set date for the end of the Government’s work from home guidance and social distancing measures likely to be in place until at April 2021, rail and bus operators have an opportunity to put in place measures now that will bring back commuter confidence in the future.

As lockdown restrictions are eased, transport authorities will face considerable challenges in preventing crowding and maintaining social distancing. Health and wellbeing will always be top of the agenda for operators, the question is how do they do this?

Dan Shields, CEO at Shields Energy believes IoT is the answer; it gives power and peace of mind back to the operators with the ability to measure and manage passenger movement while also helping to build public confidence in using public transport and increasing the “safe” capacity of networks. IoT can also provide data that can influence commuter times and how businesses could encourage staff to work at different times to accommodate their commute safely.

Shields Energy has been working within the public transport sector installing its IoT solution, CODA. CODA can deliver real time insights on passenger levels via sensors around platforms and on public transport vehicles, and can alert when occupancy levels are above set parameters. Access control systems can be triggered to halt the flow onto platforms when occupancy levels have been reached. Commuters can be asked to move platforms or to change carriages when levels are nearing their maximum.

Commuters waing for train

CODA also offers a duty of care to customers, as data from the sensors can feed into travel apps and customer facing software that advises them of busy times and also helps operators conform to legislation.

Dan Shields, CEO Shields Energy, said: “COVID-19 has dramatically changed the way we use public transport. Since lockdown in March operators have made a sterling effort to make platforms and trains COVID-secure with signage, markings, cleaning and sanitisation. Commuter journeys may look very different post-COVID, with capacity reduced and distancing orders still in place.

“But when the UK comes out of lockdown and as workspaces reopen, the ability to socially distance at train and bus stations could become much harder as more people return to the daily commute and the demands on public transport could get back to the pre-COVID levels.

What does this mean for the rail and bus industry and the staff managing the sites and managing the flow of commuters on an hourly and daily basis? Will signage be enough to maintain this?

We don’t think so. We believe that railway stations and bus depots can proactively manage social distancing and commuter flow with IoT. Our CODA IoT solution delivers real time insights and alert/alarm against deviations to desired patterns and levels, which will help railway and bus companies manage the commuter population in line with measures that are safe, secure and maintain social distancing advice.”


For more information or to find out how the team at Shields Energy can help you, please call us on +44 (0)345 241 2889 or email info@shields.energy.

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