A Research Platform for Singapore

Passenger Simulation as a Design Tool


An important metric when studying public transport systems is the dwelling time at stations required to allow passenger to board and alight, which constrains the arrival rate at stations and thus the overall schedule of the transport system. Since it is affected by aspects such as the positioning and number of seats and the space available for standing, the effects of potential interior layouts on the DART system must be evaluated. To this end, a simulation tool was developed that populates a simulated scenario with agents that perform a sequence of boarding and alighting processes. The tool allows designers to explore possible layouts prior to costly real-world experimentation.

Factors Determining Required Dwelling Time


  1. Interior Layout

    Standing and seating areas affect walking distance from the door and space for passengers to manoeuvre.

  2. Door Concept 

    Dimensions and orientations of the door determine the passenger flow. Door closing policy may limit the boarding and alighting time.

  3. Crowd Mix

    Passengers of different ages, genders or jobs may have various walking speeds and seat preferences.

  4. Others

    Other factors such as the platform layout and payment strategy also have an impact on the process.


Modelling Approach


The decision-making model used to select the correct action for the current situation is based on the Recognition-Primed Decision (RPD) framework.

The framework consists of four components: working memory, perception system, decision system and action system.

The figure on the left shows an excerpt of the decision-making model of a boarding passenger when approaching the target seat.

Simulation-based Dwelling Time Estimation

The figure below shows an evaluation of the boarding time for three candidate interior layouts


Outcomes and Benefit

The result of this project will be simulation tool for evaluating the effects of different vehicle and platform layouts on the dwelling time.
The tool will allow both for a visual depiction of the boarding and alighting behaviors as well as for the generation of statistics such as dwelling time and passenger flow.
Simulations based on the calibrated models will enable the selection of vehicle and platform design with low dwelling time across a wide range of situations, enabling a smooth operation of the envisioned transportation system.