A new traffic solution that in real-time displays the fastest route from the Port of Aalborg and to the E45 highway, is tackling the increasing congestion problems at both the Port of Aalborg and the eastern part of the city.

The Port of Aalborg, in North Jutland, Denmark, is using BlipTrack technology to improve traffic management, enabling it to know where vehicles are located in real time, how fast they are moving and, therefore, how traffic is flowing. The port first began working with BLIP Systems in 2011 to develop a solution that would help identify when drivers arrived at certain locations. The first phase of the project focused on documenting traffic flow on internal port roads by detecting Bluetooth devices. It next plans to add more sensors to track traffic patterns on external roads that travel between different freight terminals in the area.

The Port of Aalborg has a five-century history of moving cargo into and out of the North Jutland area. The port was first established in 1476 with a few simple piers. Today, the 24-hour port imports and exports commodities such as cement, coal, feedstuffs, fertiliser, grain and oil cargoes, and includes a railroad, a warehouse and a quay. Two additional private ports include a cement factory, Aalborg Portland A/S, and a power station, Vattenfall A/S.

The movement of cargo, naturally, leads to traffic, says Mette Schmidt, the Port of Aalborg's chief technical officer, and that concerns both the port and the community in which it's located. The port sought an automated solution that would not only help relieve traffic congestion by alerting drivers of conditions in real time, but would also provide analytical data for better traffic flow management. "This applies for the number of vessels and goods by ship but also on land, where it is interesting to know the flow of traffic in and out of the port," Schmidt states.

Screen-at-the-office-at-the-Port-of-AalborgThe port and the entire eastern part of the city are experiencing increased traffic in recent years, which means greater congestion, says Christian Bugislaus Carstens, BLIP Systems' marketing manager. Approximately 1,000 vehicles arrive at the port each day to deliver or pick up cargo. This heavy traffic load affects not only the port but also the community, in which about 10,000 vehicles travel daily. This will become increasingly important as a new university hospital is slated for completion in 2020, which will increase traffic in the area around the port by around 13,000 cars per day. Therefore, Schmidt says, providing drivers with the ability to choose alternative routes is important.

“For us it is crucial that we are able reach our customers on time, and time is money for us. Time is also a key parameter in our quality, enabling us to meet the demands and expectations from our clients. It is therefore important that we are able to choose which roads we should select and deselect," says Niels Birk, Terminal Manager for Danske Fragtmænd.

In 2011, BLIP Systems installed the first BlipTrack sensors on existing poles along the port's internal routes, as well as at the port and on highways leading to the port. The sensors works by collecting non-personal data from driver´s mobile devices, such as phones and tablets. By re-identifying the devices from multiple sensors, the travel times, dwell times and movement patterns become available. Importantly, the solution does not send or track any personal information; it simply monitors the number of Bluetooth devices signals in a given area. 

During the next phase of the deployment, the port would like to expand the solution's use to a larger geographic area, so as to analyse traffic flow between the various transportation hubs. "The solution would allow us to monitor strange [unusual] traffic and freight patterns," Schmidt says. "The good questions often lead to new ideas, but without data, you will have no knowledge."

With the information the port has gathered thus far, along with an analysis of that data, it expects to create congestion patterns that might be predictable.

Sign-with-travel-times-at-the-Port-of-Aalborg"At this time, we only have minor traffic problems, but when the new university hospital is finished in a couple of years, a doubling of the traffic is expected. This will affect the main corridor out of the port," Schmidt says. "So it is important to have before-and-now data in order to make a future prognosis. With the solution from BLIP Systems, we are able to do just that."

Drivers can access to the Port of Aalborg´s website, where the current driving times are continuously updated and displayed in real-time. The Port of Aalborg also disseminate driving times on physical signs at the exit roads to the port area.

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.

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Auckland Airport Take to the Streets to Boost City-to-Gate Passenger Experience.

“BLIP systems´ traffic monitoring solution BlipTrack has given us a unique opportunity to deliver new logistics solutions for the benefit of our customers”. Read more

Mette Schmidt

Chief Technical Officer for the Port of Aalborg