Affluences solution in Lyon's metro system

Passenger information: passengers informed in real time of crowding on Lyon metro trains

Affluences solution in Lyon's metro system
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PostedJUN. 27, 2023
Words byKeolis
To ease congestion and streamline boarding and exiting flows, Keolis Lyon, SYTRAL Mobilités and the startup Affluences are testing out a passenger information system indicating the level of crowding in real time at the Sans-Souci station on the Lyon metro. This is a unique innovation in the world making it possible to identify the least crowded metro trains.

Context: metro crowding, a major issue for users since COVID-19 

A long-time source of discomfort, crowding in public transit has become a major cause of concern for many users since the COVID-19 pandemic. Ensuring an optimal distribution of passengers across metro or tram cars is a key factor in the quality of the passenger experience and the appeal of public transit. In Lyon, Keolis worked with SYTRAL Mobilités and in partnership with the startup Affluences to test out a unique solution for managing crowding at the Sans-Souci metro station.

Affluences solution deployed in Lyon metro system

Innovation: passenger information to improve the management of crowding on the metro 

Transport operators worldwide have carried out many different tests to provide information about occupancy rates using onboard electronic counting systems and instant analysis powered by artificial intelligence: for example, on buses in New York and on trams and buses in Frankfurt-am-Main. In France, a test for measuring occupancy rates was performed in Île-de-France on the Transilien network by the startup Affluences, a specialist in solutions for measuring and predicting wait times and occupancy rates in different spaces. This patented technology disrupts the traditional counting methods in public transit and is particularly well adapted to “heavy” modes of transport that are generally characterized by long vehicles with many doors.

Real-time bus information in New York City

In New York City, an experiment on ridership conducted in 2017 provided real-time information on passenger boarding on buses.

This first test in real-life conditions laid the groundwork for a more in-depth second test in the Lyon metro, conducted in partnership with SYTRAL Mobilités, Affluences and Keolis Lyon. That test began in November 2022 at the Sans-Souci station, which is used by 12,000 people every day. The concept: on the platform, a camera equipped with an AI system scans the occupancy of each train car and transmits the information to the next station. On the next station’s platform, above each door, a green, orange or red light indicates the occupancy of the approaching metro car. 

Light signals indicate the occupancy rate of the approaching metro.
Passenger information poster

Benefits: improved distribution of passengers in train cars  

By using this passenger information, users can proceed to the least crowded train cars before the metro arrives. Thanks to optimized management of crowding, this innovation improves journey quality for passengers. A more balanced distribution of train car occupancy rates also offers a second benefit: streamlining passenger boarding and exiting flows at the station and, as a result, reducing the time spent at each station and speeding up train schedules.

Next steps: optimizing passenger information based on user feedback  

In March 2023, Keolis commissioned a user survey to collect passenger feedback. The goal of the new system was clearly understood by users: more than 70% of respondents said the information was useful or very useful, while one quarter said they always used the information and over 30% said they used it on a regular basis. Adding information to highlight the existence of these color codes is the main focus for improving the system. Not only is the display system seen as reliable and practical, but it also does not require users to download or use a mobile app.

Passengers waiting for the metro on the "Sans-Souci" platform in Lyon
Passengers waiting for the metro on the "Sans-Souci" platform in Lyon

1 750




of respondents found the information useful to very useful



used it regularly

Possible future upgrades include altering the display to make it accessible to color-blind passengers and informing passengers of the occupancy of the next two trains (as opposed to just one at present). This dual information system would enable passengers to wait for the next train if it is less crowded. 

Several areas for improvement under study
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