With more than 11 million passengers in 2016, the busiest year in the airport's history, Birmingham Airport realised that they needed a solution to measure queues and predict wait times accurately. After reviewing several systems, the airport implemented BlipTrack technology.
“Birmingham Airport engaged with Veovo, following a competitive tender process. During the evaluation of technological solutions, we met with a number of existing Veovo customers, who had implemented BlipTrack in similar successful projects”, says Chris Wilson, Head of Terminal Operations at Birmingham.
Operationally, the airport uses, among other things, the data to monitor line density in real-time, which allows management to respond promptly and efficiently to irregular operations and disruptions, such as opening additional lines. It enables the airport to comply with service-level agreements and to evaluate and challenge key performance indicators with high accuracy. Also, the live wait time information is shared with passengers on screens, to improve the travel experience, with hopefully more satisfied and recurring passengers as a result.
“The solution is used at the north immigration hall to measure and predict the wait time at the UK Border. The data really helps to understand the actual wait time for the border, and helps discussion with the UKBF (United Kingdom Border Force) planning team and resourcing plans for the future. By sharing the information on screens, we help reduce passenger frustration by creating realistic wait time expectations. It makes the passengers feel more relaxed and helps them to better plan the final elements of their journey as well as onward travel,” continues Chris Wilson.
“Today, many airports display wait times to their passengers. Typically, this is done by measuring dwell times of people leaving the line. However, these “historic” times may not be accurate for those entering the line, especially if the number of people suddenly changes or more lines open up. BlipTrack combines and analyses both the number of people in line and the average throughput of the area. With these two measurements, accurate wait times can be displayed,” explains Christian Bugislaus Carstens, Marketing Manager at Veovo, BlipTrack.
“It´s been an excellent project with great support from the design, installation and technical team. The BlipTrack team are a credit to the organisation and have helped the airport immensely, with data analysis and reporting. Moving forward, we have plans to continue the project to incorporate other areas, such as the southbound security and immigration,” ends Chris Wilson.
Internationally, more than 25 international airports use the technology, including Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, JFK Airport in New York, Copenhagen, Dublin, Oslo, Geneva, Brussels, Cincinnati and Auckland. BlipTrack is also implemented in optimisation efforts in road traffic in Portsmouth, Bangkok, Zurich and Stockholm. In recent years, the solution has been rolled out in train stations, ports, ski resorts, amusement parks, and at events all over the world.
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.
Auckland Airport Take to the Streets to Boost City-to-Gate Passenger Experience.
“It´s been an excellent project with great support from the design, installation and technical team. The BLIP Systems´ team are a credit to the organisation and have helped the airport immensely, with data analysis and reporting.”
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.”
Operations Director at Bristol Airport
“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.”
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.”
Technology Projects Manager at Dublin Airport Operations
“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
Director of Operations at Brussels Airport
“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.
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
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
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
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.”
Project Manager Landside Operations at Genève Aéroport