In Aalborg, Denmark, the Aalborg City Business Association use BlipTrack technology to measure shoppers flow and movement patterns at events like the annual Christmas market. It provides the association with valuable metrics, such as the number of visitors, where they shop, and whether the events are increasing revenues for merchants.

How do you measure the success of a major event in a city? Does an event increase revenue? How many more people are in the city during a large-scale event? Where do they park? These are some of the questions, that Aalborg City Business Association gets answered using mobile device-detecting sensors.

In Aalborg, recently voted happiest city in Europe, the City Business Association use sensors to measure real-time pedestrian flow, dwell time and movement patterns. The solution provides a cohesive picture of visitor experiences and an in-depth understanding of the impact of large-scale events, such as the annual Christmas market. It enables the association to review how long visitors take to move from one area to another, how long they linger, and which shops they visit.

 “If we are not able to measure the impact of events, such as the Christmas market, which costs over 1 million DKK ($160,000 US) to arrange, then the event is not justifiable, and perhaps money could be better utilized elsewhere,” Flemming Tingbak, director of Aalborg City Business Association, said in a statement. The data show that even when the municipality and sponsors spend a lot of money on these kind of events, the money comes back one way or another. It contributes to underpin retail, cafes and restaurants in the city, that needs to hire people.”

“The solution works by placing sensors at strategic points in a specified area. The sensors detect Wi-Fi or Bluetooth devices, such as smartphones. By re-identifying devices from multiple sensors, the travel times, dwell times and movement patterns become available. The solution is non-intrusive and do not require any interaction from pedestrians", explains BLIP Systems Marketing Manager Christian Bugislaus Carstens. Considering that the smartphone penetration nears 80% of the mobile market, data collection from mobile devices provides hard numbers of a significant percentage of pedestrians.”

Aalborg City Business Association have also used the solution to gain useful information during other events, such as Black Friday and at The Tall Ships Races. With visitors totaling 2.4 million, The Tall Ships Races constitute the biggest events in the history of Aalborg. Here the collected data showed that during the event, there were twice as many people in the city's shopping areas, which represents an increase that exceeds the Christmas shopping season. The data unfortunately also showed that there were many people present at times when the stores had closed. This information enables the Business Association to adjust opening hours when similar events are arranged.

Besides providing Aalborg City with pedestrian data, the BlipTrack solution also measures passenger queue and flow in over 30 international airports, including JFK in New York, Amsterdam Schiphol, Auckland, Copenhagen, Dublin, Oslo, Manchester and Brussels. In recent years, the technology has been rolled out in train stations in the Netherlands and UK, ski resorts in the US, amusement parks in Denmark and UK, and in road traffic all over the world.

Ever-increasing international travel volume is having a serious 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 effectively.

Auckland - a growing hub for travel

Auckland Airport expects to host over 40 million passengers annually by the year 2044. To cope with this 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 real-time cohesive 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 quickly 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. This 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 better understand the performance 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 helps 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. This includes optimising traffic signal timings, and  combined with the recent opening of the new constructed Waterview connection, has resulted in significant travel time cuts to and from the airport from the CBD and West Auckland.

In addition, the real-time and historic 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 high risk of congestion. This enable 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.

This 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.

“With BlipTrack we are able to keep our passengers fully informed24/7 – both in the terminal and online – about what to expect at security. At peak times, up to 3,000 passengers an hour travel through security and our aim is to make that experience as smooth as possible whilst ensuring safety – BLIP Systems helps us do that.”

Adrian Witherow

Chief Operating Officer at Edinburgh Airport

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

John Seely

Technology Projects Manager at Dublin Airport Operations

“BLIP Systems provides us with valuable insights in passenger processes. The insights are used to continuously improve our performance together with our stakeholders. BLIP Systems has proved to be a reliable partner, with a clear understanding of our needs.”

Martijn Van Boxtel

Operational Manager Terminal Logistics at Schiphol Group

“BlipTrack 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 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 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 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 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

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

Guðmundur Karl Gautason

Manager – Operation Research at Keflavik Airport.

“BlipTrack allow us to gain a good understanding of check-point dynamics, and most importantly, our customers benefit directly by getting a better service.”

Anita Filli

Project Manager Landside Operations at Genève Aéroport

“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