The flow of people at stations.

SBB uses what is termed a footfall measurement system to measure the flow of people at the station. The aim is to make the stations as safe and pleasant as possible for passengers and customers. 

SBB needs to be able to ensure safety and seeks to make improvements where necessary, optimising cleaning schedules, identifying bottlenecks in passageways, managing flows of people properly and also ensuring that the right service can be found in the right place, for example ticket machines or food shops. To be able to do this, SBB needs information on passenger flows. 

How does this benefit station visitors?

All visitors benefit from safe and well-designed stations, where cleaning is well organised, information displays and seating are well placed and passageways are well sized during conversion projects. In addition, there are as few obstacles and bottlenecks as possible, and congestion in front of passageways is recognised and eliminated from the outset. Customers also find the right shops and sales services precisely where they need them.

What does SBB measure?

The footfall measurement system measures the flow of people at large and medium-sized stations. In doing so, it measures where large numbers of people pass through, where there are larger crowds at what time of day, and whether many people stop at the kiosk before going to the platform. Important: Only passenger flows are recorded, not individual people or images (see also information under ‘Data protection’).

How are measurements made?

For footfall measurement, 3D sensors are used. They measure the number of movements of people at a specific location. Specifically, the duration of stay, density of people and speed are measured. The measurement is carried out in real time on the 3D sensors, with only the measurement data being transmitted to a central database. No recording, storage or transmission of visual material takes place.

What about data protection?

Data protection is a major concern for SBB and the footfall measurement system guarantees this. Station visitors cannot be identified. It is also not possible to trace individual paths. In each case, the data of a large number of station visitors is merged. The evaluation of individual paths is neither possible nor relevant to the purpose of the system.

Further information concerning data protection at SBB

How does this differ from video monitoring? 

The footfall measurement system and the video monitoring system are two entirely distinct and independent systems. The footfall measurement system does not capture images, whereas video surveillance does.

You can find further information on video monitoring here: 
Video Monitoring Privacy Policy
Link opens in new window.

Where is the footfall measurement system in operation? 

The footfall measurement system is installed at railway stations with a high volume of visitors and is currently in operation at the following locations (as of autumn 2023): 

Aarau, Baden, Basel SBB, Bern, Bellinzona, Biel/Bienne, Chur, Fribourg, Geneva Airport, Genève Cornavin, Genève Eaux-Vives, Lausanne, Lugano, Lucerne, Neuchâtel, Olten, St. Gallen, Thun, Uster, Winterthur, Zug, Zürich Altstetten, Zürich Enge, Zürich Hardbrücke, Zürich Oerlikon, Zürich Stadelhofen, Zurich main station.

With the footfall measurement system, the density of people on the station premises becomes visible.
Image legend: With the footfall measurement system, the density of people on the station premises becomes visible.