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Tokyo Metro adds platform display showing where least crowded parts of the next train will be

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

At rush hour, you can pretty much expect every subway train in downtown Tokyo to be crowded. Even on a crowded train, though, not every car is going to be equally crowded.

Wouldn’t it be more comfortable for everyone to spread out as much as possible, resulting in an even distribution of people between the cars? Sure, but there’s more to it than that. Some people might be riding in a certain car because when the train stops at their destination, that car is the closest one to the exit they plan to take. Or maybe an especially large number of people happened to hop into the same section of the train at a particular station, and that car is now too crowded for them to squirm their way to a different one.

So all else equal, if you’re standing on the platform waiting for a train, ideally you want to know where the least crowded cars are going to be, so you can get on the train there. Luckily, there’s a way to do just that, thanks to a new notification system from Tokyo Metro.


A number of Tokyo Metro stations now have automated platform gates with video display screens on them. All that Tokyo Metro needs to do is use those screens to show how crowded each of the cars are on the next arriving train, so that the people who’ll be getting on can pick the least crowded ones.

The display uses a four-level color-coded scale, starting with blue (car has empty seats) and progressing to green (no empty seats, but relatively uncrowded), orange (standing only, shoulders will be in contact with others’), and red (very crowded).


To do all that, Tokyo Metro will use platform-mounted depth-sensing cameras to perform a visual check of the train and feed that information to an AI program, which calculates the crowdedness rating and passes the result on to the display at the next station. The company will also be using passenger survey responses to help with fine-tuning.

Congestion displays went into service on Wednesday at Waseda Station on the Tozai Line, specifically on the platform for eastbound trains, as part of a test program. It’s a smart choice for a test site. The stop before Waseda is Takadanobaba Station, a transfer station that connects to both the Yamanote downtown loop train line and the Seibu Shinjuku train line which links downtown Tokyo and residential neighborhoods to the west, as does the Tozai Line itself. Every weekday morning Tozai trains headed east are packed with students on their way to Waseda University and office workers who’ll continue farther down the line to Tokyo’s financial district, so anything that can make commutes smoother would be a plus.

The test will continue until the end of March, traditionally the end of the business year in Japan, and if it works well we might be seeing crowdedness displays on other Tokyo Metro platforms in the near future.

Source: PR Times

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© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Comments are hilarious. In my country, they can't even stop the subway in the same place. There was one time where my rearmost subway car was still in the tunnel when the subway stopped to let out the passengers. None of us were able to get off!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Damn, I already know which places to stand that are not crowded, my usual spots. Now they will be crowded. Damn.

4 ( +10 / -6 )


quote: red (very crowded)

red (sardines, all body parts will be in contact with others, breath will be shared).

Some rush hour train rides in Tokyo may involve more intimacy than passengers' marriages.

@Stephen Chin. As far as I recall you can do this on Japanese metro trains and London Underground trains. In the 1970s British Rail used to have old style carriages that you couldn't walk between - if you got stuck in a smoking carriage by accident, you had to wait until the next station to escape. I can't recall being on a train that didn't have walk-through connections since the early 1980s.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

as if there isn't enough visual-overload already (not to mention audio-mayhem)....

3 ( +11 / -8 )

I think people already know where the least crowded carriages are - they just choose to be on the ones that are closest to the stairs/escalators.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This has been around for well over a year... not news, basically the middle of the train is where you will find less of a squeeze. Sadly, when you have to now file in line to ascend the escalator, and not walk up it... you will naturally get the carriage closest to the escalator - which inevitably is at either end of the train. Stupid rules caused all of this.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Dumbing down the population even further, and increasing their fixating on watching screens, whilst totally ignoring their surroundings.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Pukey2Today  02:13 pm JST

Where is that ?

Sounds like America.

Sounds like Australia too

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Where is that ?

Sounds like America.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If things don’t improve with this, kaizen (improve next time). It’s an attempt, an investment for the people to feel more comfortable or less uncomfortable in their commutes. With investment comes risk of failure, but I think the intent is good and it’s worth a try. Go metro! Go Japan! Banzai! Lol

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Doubt this would work and may even backfire. With herd mentality, and FOMO, people will be constantly rushing to the less crowded compartment resulting in overcrowding and constant repositioning stress. Even sardines are too smart to do this

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Still trial - complicated.

Complicated yet if can be done, great!

Till next complication.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Excellent !!..

Best public transport of the world !!..

Less people, less covid and less chikan.

Don't get on..

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

In Canada, Montreal's Metro is beginning to introduce what I may describe as: the one loooooong carraige train. By that I mean: passengers can walk from... the first carraige to... the last carraige. Or, from the last carraige ...to the first carraige. Or, from any carraige... to any carraige. The result ? No more crowded carraiges and, every passenger is pleased. Or, one loooooong crowded carraige and, every passenger is displeased.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )


Really ? "Some rush hour trains in Tokio may involve more intimacy than passengers marraiges?" Tokio must be a very crowded city with children born in the metro grow up in the metro and go to school in the metro.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Less people, less covid and less chikan.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

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