Britain’s largest train stations are increasingly popular destinations for retail, food and drink, in addition to rail travel. That’s what data from more than 1,700 discreet infrared sensors deployed throughout Network Rail’s largest train stations uncovered in its effort to discover not just how many people use its stations, but actually how they use them, as part of its goal to improve passenger perception.
“Network Rail has consistently high levels of service and ambitious plans for the future”
Network Rail, which owns and operates Britain’s rail infrastructure, has undertaken the new project in collaboration with PFM Footfall Intelligence to raise customer service standards.
As part of this undertaking, Irisys’ infrared sensors have been integrated into station access points, platforms, retail outlets, washrooms, left luggage and other areas. The sensors discreetly detect individuals by their body heat, so personal identities and privacy are not compromised. Data collected by the sensors is then passed into PFM’s database management tool, which reports crucial information to key station personnel.
The joint solution gives rich insight into how many customers use Network Rail’s stations and in what capacity. A recent analysis, for example, found tens of millions of people visit the stations each year to shop, eat and drink — in addition to those who travel by rail.
The finding validated National Rail’s strategy of adding “must-visit” retail destinations across its portfolio of stations to improve the customer experience and open up additional lines of revenue.
“PFM has a track record of delivering customer-focused solutions within complex environments such as that of Network Rail,” said David Sturdy, managing director of PFM Footfall Intelligence. “Our wealth of experience in managing and translating data into accurate, meaningful information has always been a central emphasis of our work, helping to deliver enhanced customer experiences.”
“Network Rail has consistently high levels of service and ambitious plans for the future,” said Nick Stogdale, division director of detector products for Irisys. “We hope the integration of our infrared technology will help Network Rail’s continuing success story as part of its important contribution to an innovative transportation strategy.”