STL wins AQTR Award for its online bus crowd estimator

The Société de transport de Laval (STL) was presented on Nov. 5, during an online “virtual gala,” with the Association québécoise des transports’s Grand Prix d’Excellence en Transport award for the STL’s online tool that tells riders how crowded their bus could be.

Launched last June, the digital tool provides riders with an estimate of the number of passengers they should expect not only when they board, but also during the course of their entire bus trip – which is a first in Canada.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has made social distancing in public transit situations a core concern for everyone, the crowd estimator supplies information tailored to individual transit users.

With the crowd estimator, they can make informed decisions based on the level of bus crowdedness they are comfortable with, such as taking an earlier or later bus, getting on or off at a different bus stop, or using another bus route nearby.

STL buses have been equipped with GPS technology and passenger counters for years, which record on a daily basis how many passengers are on the bus at each stop, for each bus route, or at each scheduled bus time.

The new tool uses this information to determine the level of bus occupancy at a stop, at a specific time, for the entire length of a commute, based on the averages trending over the previous five business days. These calculations are updated daily. The estimator is available at for use on computers or smartphones.

“We appreciate being recognized by the industry for an initiative we are especially proud of, developed during these unusual times, for the purpose of reassuring users so they may continue using public transit for their commutes as always,” said STL president Éric Morasse.

“By democratizing access to green transportation, and doing so affordably while many families contend with tighter budgets, we are continuing to fulfill our mission of facilitating mobility for the Laval population,” he added.