Ever-increasing global travel volume is having a severe impact on airports like New Zealand’s Auckland International, which saw over 19 million passengers last year. The airport is taking the increased passenger flow and logistics issues seriously, using a unique combination of traffic and passenger flow measurement technology. The result? Faster travel times, acceptable wait times, less passenger stress and a wealth of information that helps the airports and the city to plan resources more efficiently.

Auckland - a growing hub for travel

Auckland Airport expects to host over 40 million passengers annually by the year 2044. To cope with the increase in passenger load, the airport embarked on a wide-ranging and world first combined passenger-flow and road-traffic measurement project, with the goal of obtaining a cohesive real-time view of people movement patterns, to guide daily and long-term operational decisions, maximise capacity and improve flow.

In its build, the airport has opted to aim for sustainability, while ensuring that they will not only have the capacity to handle the extra people, but also the capability to make the passenger journey as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Keeping things flowing

Smooth passenger flow, both in the arrival and departure terminals, and the concession and transit waiting areas, as well as on the roads surrounding the airport, is critical to the successful operation of an airport.

Issues with traffic flows can result in delays for passengers, airport staff and airline crew, resulting in disruptions to airport and airline operations.

To manage both passenger and traffic flow, Auckland Airport realised they needed to have a bird’s-eye view of the entire system, as well as detailed, up-close analysis of ongoing issues. They also needed a way to act when things start to bottleneck.

With several traffic monitoring projects in New Zealand, using the same technology, infrastructure consultants Beca was commissioned to extend the solution across the airport’s roading infrastructure. It now provides the airport with a seamless picture of traffic flow information between the airport and Auckland CBD (Central Business District, also called the city centre).

How it works

On the Road

Outside the airport, the solution measures traffic flow between the CBD and the airport, providing real-time data on reliability, vehicle counts and travel time.

It provides data about the mix of staff and passengers using the Park and Ride facility, enabling the airport to understand the performance better and regularly review how they can improve their facilities. This information is also analysed to help planning decisions for road network maintenance and infrastructure projects.

The insights, collected using a range of technologies, including radar and WiFi sensors, also help the New Zealand Traffic Agency (NZTA) to make informed traffic management decisions and has allowed for the implementation of a number of initiatives to improve the traffic flow to the airport. It includes optimising traffic signal timings, and combined with the recent opening of the newly constructed Waterview connection, has resulted in significant travel time cuts to and from the airport from the CBD and West Auckland.

Also, the real-time and historical BlipTrack data enables NZTA, via their new app RideMate and online, to display live travel times between the CBD and airport, as well as informing about days with a high risk of congestion. It enables road users to plan ahead, reducing both the risk of travellers missing their flight and airport employees coming in late for work.

Besides the benefits of real-time reporting, the historical data is used to detect driving time anomalies. Effectively, this means that the solution can pinpoint road sections and intersections where driving times deviate from the norm as a result of construction projects, incidents, roadwork, faulty traffic lights and other factors. With this information at hand, real-time traffic management can take place.

Richard Young, Senior Associate at Beca, says: “The intelligence that BlipTrack is delivering has already proved its value, by providing automated alerts on delays on vulnerable corridors, real-time counts on traffic flows and delays, and intelligence on the origin and destination of vehicle movements into the airport and to terminals and car parks.”

In the airport

Inside the airport, the solution provides metrics on passenger queue times and volume, as well as insight into passenger movement patterns throughout the international and domestic terminals´ departure and arrival processes.

It helps the airport better manage and support resources by focusing on high-demand locations and periods. Likewise, the data directly benefits passengers by displaying wait times at security checkpoints, managing passenger expectations and reducing queue-related stress.

Mark Croudace, Manager – Operations at Auckland International Airport, says: “BlipTrack was a critical investment. The data has provided valuable insight into our operational performance across both our assets and processes. Most importantly, it has enabled us to have meaningful conversations with our key operational stakeholders and vendors, as we collectively seek to improve the passenger experience.”

Changing the face of travel

Numerous other international airports, including Amsterdam Schiphol, Copenhagen, Dublin, Brussels, Bristol and Billund, are following suit. These airports have recognised that comprehensive, seamless passenger flow data is indispensable in guiding physical expansion plans, and for streamlining operations to accommodate rapid passenger volume growth, without compromising the passenger experience.

“By having Auckland Airport and Beca working together, and by sharing data between multiple solutions, BlipTrack provides a solution that no other product in the industry can currently reproduce – large-scale, seamless, door-to-door movement management between different modes of transport. And because it´s not only limited to certain areas, it can be considered as one of the first real, tangible steps to true multimodal traffic management,” ends Peter Knudsen, CEO of BLIP Systems.

Besides providing airports around the world with seamless passenger flow data, the solution is employed in optimisation efforts in road traffic applications in Switzerland, Thailand, Canada, the UK, Denmark and Sweden. In recent years, it has been rolled out in ports, train stations, ski resorts, amusement parks, and at events around the world.

“BlipTrack was our first “innovative” push for our organization. This has subsequently paid off in operational efficiency, customer goodwill, effective supporting deployment strategies, positive organizational momentum as well as positive global press and organizational credibility.”

Brian Cobb

Chief Innovation Officer at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport

“BlipTrack helps ensure that passengers experience a quick and easy passage through this stage of the journey, and significantly increase the opportunity for a positive experience throughout the airport.”

Øystein Skaar

Airport Director at Bergen Airport

With BlipTrack we have coverage at our fingertips 24 hours a day, seven days a week, enabling us to use service level agreements more fairly—not just over selected periods. This rapid information allows us to take fast, proactive measures before the situation escalates.”

Phil Holder

Head of Operations Support at Bristol Airport

“BlipTrack was a critical investment. The data has provided valuable insight into our operational performance across both our assets and processes. Most importantly, it has enabled us to have meaningful conversations with our key operational stakeholders and vendors, as we collectively seek to improve the passenger experience.”

Mark Croudace

Manager - Passenger & Terminal Operations at Auckland International Airport Limited

”BlipTrack helps us identify how passengers move through and use the airport, from the time they park, when they leave, and everywhere in between. It enables us to look for patterns through the day/week, to see the impact of the various actions we implement, to reduce bottlenecks and wait time for our passengers.”

Jan Hessellund

CEO at Billund Airport.

“We value the long-term cooperation and their professional approach in providing us with technology and data to ensure efficient operations and passenger satisfaction.”

Lars Erik Flatner

Head of ICT Portfolio at Avinor.

“The team are a credit to the organisation and have helped the airport immensely, with data analysis and reporting.”

Chris Wilson

Head of Terminal Operations at Birmingham International Airport

“We had very high expectations prior to the introduction of the system, and I am very happy to say that the outcome has proved very successful. The system has capabilities of further enhancements which will provide other long-term solutions in the future.”

Paul Davies

Operations Director at Bristol Airport

“With BlipTrack we can keep our passengers fully informed 24/7 – both in the airport terminal and online – about what to expect at the security process. At peak times, over 3,000 passengers an hour travel through security, and our aim is to make that experience as smooth as possible whilst ensuring safety – BlipTrack helps us do that.”

Adrian Witherow

Chief Operating Officer at Edinburgh Airport

“BlipTrack has helped identify time periods where passenger wait times exceed 10 minutes, thereby allowing us to assess schedule deficiencies and taxi dispatches. The data has greatly helped improve the customer experience by providing us the ability to schedule taxis to be available when needed.”

David J. Boenitz

Director of Ground Transportation at San Diego International Airport.

“BlipTrack enable us to see when levels of service are breached and locate the reasons. We can identify work shift problems and make more informed decisions.”

Guðmundur Karl Gautason

Manager – Operation Research at Keflavik Airport.

BlipTrack has provided us with powerful tools which have allowed us to gain a good understanding of the security check-point dynamics, and most importantly, our customers benefit directly by getting a better service.”

Anita Filli

Project Manager Landside Operations at Genève Aéroport

“The solution provides us with valuable real-time insights about passenger queue time dynamics. It helps our managers to secure low queue times at minimum cost, and also provides our Analysis Department with direct feedback on their forecasting performance.” Read more.

Esben Kolind

Head of Operational and Business Analysis at Copenhagen Airports

“BlipTrack has helped us to resource our operations on-the-day and to identify pinch points and potential build ups. The very accurate data has enabled us to provide an optimum passenger experience by displaying accurate queue wait times.”

John Seely

Technology Projects Manager at Dublin Airport Operations

“BlipTrack provides us with valuable insights into passenger processes. The insights are used to continuously improve our performance together with our stakeholders.

Martijn Van Boxtel

Operational Manager Terminal Logistics at Schiphol Group

“BlipTrack provides us with immediate visibility to the customer experience and resource effectiveness with throughput planning. The solution allows us to put the customer at ease at a critical stress point and reinforces our expectations around superior customer experience.” Read more

Brian Cobb

Chief Innovation Officer at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport

“With the automatic BlipTrack measurings, we now know precisely how many passengers to expect at the passport control at specific hours, and based on that we can reduce tailbacks.”

Kaj Lykke Majlund

Commanding Police Officer at Copenhagen Airport

“Bliptrack enables us to continually refine, evaluate and improve key operational processes.” Read more

Bjorg Hill

Contract Manager at Oslo Airport

“BlipTrack has given us a dynamic and valid tool to document our performance against service level agreements, and also to ensure that the right numbers of staff are in the right place, at the right time, for our passengers.” Read more

Rick Mernock

ATM Policy and Planning Manager at Manchester Airport

“BlipTrack enables us to monitor the quality of the terminal processes to improve resource planning, and to perform consistent reporting to internal and external stakeholders.”Read more

Ward Decaluwé

Director of Operations at Brussels Airport

“BlipTrack provides valuable information that helps everyone manage expectations, especially when lines get long. The solution alerts airport employees about developing bottlenecks which allows them to react to the situation more quickly.” Read more

Daryl Jameson

Vice President at JFKIAT

“BlipTrack helps us manage and eliminate potential problem spots within the facility. Sharing the processing time with our travelers provides them with peace of mind, so they may continue to expect a pleasant travel experience.” Read more

Gert-Jan de Graaff

President and CEO of JFKIAT

“BlipTrack gives us a clear picture of passenger movements, allowing us to provide the best customer service and proactively manage service levels before any issues arise.”

Giorgio Medici

Head of Customer Care at Milano Malpensa Airport

“BlipTrack has proven quite successful. It has enabled CVG to continue our close collaboration with TSA to ensure that the passenger experience is one that enhances the journey experience not detracts from it.”

Candace McGraw

CEO at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport