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Intelligent Sensors Uncover New Revenue and Space-Utilization Opportunities for Network Rail

Posted by Natasha Gingles on Aug 15, 2014 3:12:00 PM

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NORTHAMPTON, UK (Aug. 13, 2014) – Britain’s largest train stations are increasingly popular destinations for retail, food and drink – in addition to traveling by rail. That’s what the 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, 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 well as the standards of its people, processes and facilities – at its Managed Stations. These large complex stations are usually situated in the hearts of cities and often are of historical, architectural and engineering significance.

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 – in an effort to gain unique insights into a particular station and across the Network Rail estate. Data collected by the sensors is passed into PFM’s database management tool, which reports crucial information to key station personnel throughout the day via a near real-time dashboard.

The joint solution gives rich insight into how many customers use Network Rail’s stations – and in what capacity they use them. 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 Network 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. All profits from Network Rail’s commercial activity are re-invested in the railway to help build a safer, more reliable and growing network for its passengers and freight users.

The intelligent system can also uncover other customer-centered information like traffic patterns that are unique to specific times of day and days of the week; which spaces and facilities, like washrooms, are utilized the most and the least; and shopping-traffic patterns. That data can be leveraged to make a number of strategic improvements – including customer flow throughout a station; spatial optimization; or even the strategic adjustment of advertising rates in high-traffic areas. With passenger numbers expected to double over the next 15 years it is becoming critical to understand the customer journey through the rail network and interaction with the facilities provided in Network Rail stations.

“PFM has a track record of delivering customer-focused solutions within complex environments such as that of Network Rail,” says 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,” says 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.”

About Network Rail

Network Rail run, maintain and develop Britain’s rail tracks, signaling, bridges, tunnels, level crossings, viaducts and 17 key stations. They are improving the rail network, providing faster, more frequent and more reliable journeys between Britain’s towns and cities. This is bringing people and businesses closer together, making Britain more competitive and a better place to do business.

About PFM Footfall Intelligence

PFM is the oldest counting company in the world offering a unique range of equipment and bespoke software. Designing and manufacturing in house, PFM is able to offer a cost effective solution to any customer requirements backed up with high quality after sale support.

About Irisys

Irisys is a high-tech innovator pioneering new solutions to bring strategic insight and expanded capabilities to an array of industries worldwide. Combining discreet infrared technology and intelligent software, Irisys technology provides actionable information that can be used to drive operational efficiencies and improve business performance. Delivering faster checkout lines, cleaner facilities, higher-security perimeters, and more, Irisys’ solutions are deployed throughout the globe’s leading retail operations, publicly and privately owned buildings, airports, security systems, quick-serve restaurants and other facilities. For more information, visit

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