NEWARK, NJ – NJ TRANSIT is the recipient of a federal grant that will use artificial intelligence and video analytics to study customer flow on the River LINE light rail system in response to COVID-19. The pilot program will provide  data that allows for better crowd management, as well as faster incident response and needs-based operational changes.

The $600,000 grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation under The Public Transportation COVID-19 Research Demonstration Grant Program.

“Thanks to this grant, NJ TRANSIT continues to build on its efforts to leverage technology to protect customers and employees amid this ongoing pandemic,” said NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin Corbett. “The data we collect from the video and artificial intelligence analysis is also expected to provide longer-term operational benefits and customer experience improvements. We thank our New Jersey congressional delegation for all their support as we continue to work tirelessly to create the safest possible travel environment for our customers and employees.”

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NJ TRANSIT will explore the use of artificial intelligence and video analytics as an added COVID-19 safety measure on mass transit vehicles using heat mapping, face mask detection, and capacity management. The pilot program will evaluate and deploy a real-time data analysis, forecasting, and anomaly detection system to help improve crowd management practices. The goal of the pilot is to analyze the effectiveness of the technology to determine if its use can be expanded throughout the NJ TRANSIT system.

Cameras for the study will be mounted inside River LINE vehicles. Throughout the duration of the pilot program, customers will have access to real-time, reliable crowd data available, through the NJ TRANSIT mobile app. The app will provide customers with crowd density information, similar to the “How Full is My Ride” mobile app feature used by bus and rail customers, allowing them to make informed travel decisions.

“Smart investments like these will not just help protect NJ TRANSIT River LINE customers during the pandemic, but ensure their safe and efficient travel well beyond,” said U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, the Ranking Democrat on the Senate’s mass transit subcommittee.  “Studying real-time customer flow will allow NJ TRANSIT to assess performance, improve operations and better respond to emergencies.  If successful, this pilot program can eventually be deployed across the state’s entire transit system benefiting hundreds of thousands of daily commuters.”

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