Björn Thalén

Björn Thalén

Data Scientist @ Västtrafik

Alert, Your Trip Will Be Crowded: Crowding Prediction at Västtrafik

When the pandemic hit the world, Västtrafik wanted a precise way of informing travelers on what trips were likely to be crowded so travelers could plan their trips safely. Since Västtrafik is working in a large geographical area and has a heterogeneous population landscape, creating warnings based only on the time of day wasn’t considered good enough. We will present a use case of machine learning in production based on data from the automatic passenger counting system. The focus will be on all those details that make ML solutions useful in real life. How do you communicate the results? How do you maintain it? What engine does the model use? We will also present results on how it was received by the travelers and how it is continuously evaluated and evolving today.


Björn Thalén is a data science consultant at B3Indes, a company helping organizations to create value from data. At one of his clients, Västtrafik, Björn has been the lead developer for an AI model for crowd predictions. His academic background is in applied mathematics and history of science. In his professional life, he has focused on mathematical optimization and transportation planning systems, helping some of the world’s leading transportation companies to optimize their planning. Björn is a coordinator for the EURO Practitioners’ Forum, a European network of industry mathematicians. He got his MSc at Linköping University and has lived in Gothenburg since 2010.