The crowdedness of a vehicle is one of the main quality factor of the public
transportation (TP) quality, since, besides the comfort, also affect the reliability of the
line, changing its average speed. However, the city of São Paulo, Brazil, one of the
biggest bus operations of the world, it is difficult to find any automatic passenger
counter (APC) equipment deployed, probably due the costs of current technologies.
This research shows the results of an APC technology by the sensing of the Wi-Fi signal
of smartphones that are boarded in a vehicle on TP by bus. Therefore, a prototype was
developed and deployed on the line 6500-10 between the Terminal Santo Amaro and
the Terminal Bandeira, during 7 working days of the week on peak and off-peak hours.
was analyzed with statistical and geographical tools. During the experiment, it was
observed that the Wi-Fi APC was capable of estimate the occupancy of the vehicle
85% of the cases, with a significance level up to 20% and an error up to 22 passengers
per estimation. Through the geographical analysis it was generated load matrices, that
allow to infer the origin and destination of the passenger in each trip, indicating the
sections along the route where were more boarding and alighting. On the other hand,
the method did not perform well when coming out of the final stops and when the
crowdedness changed suddenly, requiring further analysis to understand how to deal
better under these circumstances. Likewise, due to the limited sample utilized in this
research, we cannot generalize the results presented, pressing the need for new
researches on different operation scenarios.