As the media continues to show growing Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint lines, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) is using BlipTrack technology it says is helping. Initial studies show a 33% reduction in queue times.

Over the past ten years CVG has become more of an origin/destination airport as opposed to a connecting hub. This is a significant dynamic change to how they used to do business because it means that more passengers need to be processed through Transport Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints. In addition, the TSA also went through significant changes and how they process customers.

To help handle the increasing passenger numbers smoothly and efficiently, the airport implemented the BlipTrack solution.

CVG initially partnered with Purdue University in 2011 for technology proof-of-concept testing prior to research and acquisition of the BlipTrack solution. The Purdue team returned in 2014 to quantify the security wait time improvements in the reconfigured terminal and the impact of the new pre-check lanes:

  • In comparison to standard wait times in 2011, wait times were reduced by nearly 4¼ minutes in 2014 (from 13.2 minutes to 8.9 minutes).
  • In comparison to standard screening wait times, TSA pre-check saved more than 26,000 person hours in wait time over Nov-Dec 2014.

The data helps CVG better plan staffing and number of open lanes, and gives early warning if areas in the terminal are becoming congested, so staff can prevent bottlenecks to ultimately reduce processing times.

CVG-Wait-time-Sign_squareFrom a passenger perspective, the solution has also allowed the airport to display accurate queue wait times on screens and on the airport’s website, helping the traveler by reducing frustration and enjoying a more stress-free and pleasant transit experience.

"The solution has positioned CVG on the technology cutting edge of real-time analytics and efficiency planning. The solution provides us with immediate visibility to the customer experience and resource effectiveness with throughput planning. It allows us to put the customer at ease at a critical stress point and reinforces our expectations around superior customer experience,” said Brian Cobb, VP of Customer Services at CVG. We can say ‘here’s what’s happening with lines day to day to the minute,” it helps everyone, right down to the person standing in line. We literally put wait times in their hands.”

The technology also helps the airport measure, manage and deliver on key passenger experience initiatives in conjunction with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

“We have not been immune to the headcount changes at TSA,” said Cobb, “But because we have this technology, we can put our queue information in the hands of TSA so they can adjust our lines accordingly. Adding more staffing may not be the answer. Why not use this technology to help better staff checkpoint lines with existing staff?”.

“Our use of the technology 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. Our significant investments in our facilities and the solution ensures we use them as effectively and efficiently as possible,” said Candace McGraw, CEO at CVG.“

Over time, the solution will allow the airport to analyze passengers’ movements more closely and collect data on how people use retail and restaurant options. “How long is the line at Starbucks?”, “How much time are people spending in our shops?” and so on.

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.

“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

Vice President, Customer Experience at CVG

“BlipTrack has enabled CVG to continue our close collaboration with TSA to ensure that the passenger experience is one that enhances the journey experience rather than detract from it.” Read more

Candace McGraw

CEO at Cincinnati Airport