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Journal of Advanced Transportation
Volume 2018, Article ID 4079230, 11 pages
Research Article

Pedestrian Patterns at Railway Platforms during Boarding: Evidence from a Case Study in Switzerland

1SBB CFF FFS Infrastructure, Asset Management and Technology, Bern 3000, Switzerland
2Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen (SRF), Market & Audience Research, Zürich 8052, Switzerland

Correspondence should be addressed to Giulia Dell’Asin; hc.bbs@nisalled.ailuig

Received 21 July 2018; Revised 26 September 2018; Accepted 31 October 2018; Published 13 November 2018

Academic Editor: Oded Cats

Copyright © 2018 Giulia Dell’Asin and Johannes Hool. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The boarding/alighting process at railway platforms is an important determinant of the railway system performance and depends on the characteristics of passengers, the layout of the platform, and the rolling stock. This research aims to increase the understanding of the process, providing a methodological approach to model the passengers’ behaviour when boarding at railway platforms. Adequate criteria were selected to define the so called “boarding cluster” and an easy mechanism was developed to select the boarding clusters. Passenger flow data collected at Bern railway station in Switzerland was used to test the proposed approach. The results show that (a) the clusters near the doors grow in the longitudinal direction with a rate of 6:1 between the length and width of clusters, and that (b) the growth curves rise quickly when clusters are still small, i.e., at the beginning of the boarding/alighting activity. Further research is needed to extend the validation of the model, considering other variables, such as critical pedestrian densities which occur at specific hot spots near obstacles at platforms.