Measuring Left-Behinds on Subway

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) uses performance measures to monitor its service and measure improvement. This project supports the development of measures that track the customer experience instead of the performance of vehicles. Current measures are based on fare card records and assume that passengers are able to get on the first available vehicle that arrives at a stop or station. There is not currently a way to measure people left behind on subway platforms when vehicles are too full to board. This report presents the development of methods to measure or estimate the number of passengers that are left behind when vehicles are too crowded to board and the distribution of waiting times experienced by passengers, accounting for left-behind passengers. In addition to making use of existing vehicle location data, the study includes evaluation of two potential technologies for measuring passengers: automated passenger counting from surveillance video feeds, and tracking of Media Access Control (MAC) addresses from Bluetooth and Wi-Fi-enabled wireless devices. The occurrence of at least one passenger being left behind can be estimated with 90% accuracy, and the total number left-behind passengers during a rush period can be estimated within 10%. Challenges and opportunities for the future are identified.

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Cover date: May 2018; title page date: July 2018.
  • Corporate Authors:

    University of Massachusetts, Amherst

    Amherst, MA  United States  01003

    Massachusetts Department of Transportation

    Office of Transportation Planning
    Boston, MA  United States 

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Gonzales, Eric J
    • Keklikoglou, Andronikos
    • Sipetas, Charalampos
  • Publication Date: 2018-4


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Maps; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 88p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01686219
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Contract Numbers: ISA# 92312
  • Created Date: Nov 19 2018 4:35PM