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DB Introduces Real-time Seat Occupancy Displays on First Routes in Regional Transport

DB Introduces Real-time Seat Occupancy Displays on First Routes in Regional Transport
photo: DB AG/Deutsche Bahn introduces real-time seat occupancy displays on first routes in regional transport
10 / 01 / 2023

Deutsche Bahn is introducing real-time load displays on the first routes in regional transport. Information on the capacity usage of the wagons is determined and passed on directly to the passengers on the platform, on the vehicle, and via an app.

Behind the load, displays is a comprehensive capacity management system. It helps customers find a seat faster and makes rail operations more efficient. If passengers selectively board less crowded cars, trains can depart more punctually. It, in turn, enables better use of capacities in the rail network. The system has been completed and will gradually go live over the next few months.

The load display on the platform is made in three-stage traffic light logic or person pictograms for the respective carriages. This way, customers can see where they can position themselves to better find a carriage with free seats. The displays will first be used on pilot lines of the S-Bahn Hamburg and in the Stuttgart S-Bahn network. In February, the start is planned for regional services between Hamburg and Lübeck. The S-Bahn in the Rhine-Main region will be added in April, and parts of the Berlin S-Bahn in May. Across Germany, more than 1,500 DB Regio carriages, a quarter of all DB trains in regional transport, will be capable of load display by the end of 2024.

Dr Daniela Gerd tom Markotten, DB Board Member for Digitisation and Technology: "With the intelligent capacity utilisation display, we are making the everyday life of our passengers noticeably better. Only if local transport is comfortable and reliable can we inspire even more people to take the climate-friendly train."

Delays when boarding and disembarking are the main reason for missed stops and thus for delays. With the new system, passengers are better distributed on the platform, and trains can depart more punctually. In addition, the load display via the app helps passengers to choose less crowded trains for their journey. The new system also has advantages for operations: thanks to the transparency of passenger flows and the capacity utilisation of trains, dispatchers will be able to better coordinate train traffic in the future.


The number of passengers is measured using different technical approaches, depending on the type of vehicle. For example, counters are used in the door area, or light sensors scan the load in the passing carriages. The system processes the data in a matter of seconds and then passes it on to passengers as occupancy information.

In Stuttgart, the S6, S60 and S62 lines are currently running with capacity displays, and in Hamburg, it's the S21 and S31 lines. Between Hamburg and Lübeck, journeys with the RE8, the RE80 and the RB86 will be equipped with the displays from February. In the Rhine-Main region, DB will introduce the system throughout the S-Bahn network in April. In Berlin, the rollout will begin in May on the Stadtbahn line between Jannowitzbrücke and Zoologischer Garten stations and will then be successively expanded.

Source: Deutsche Bahn