In the canton of Zürich, BlipTrack sensors measure and analyse travel times for strategic planning-tasks. The collected data is used to provide in-depth insights about changes in traffic patterns, identify time-critical route sections and reveal the competitiveness of the transport means.

The metropolitan area of Zürich is experiencing both rapid growth and increasing traffic volumes. This development has led to a significant increase in both the public transportation sector, with more and more commuters, as well as the number of vehicles on the roads.

Faced with the challenges of optimising and improving the road infrastructure, the Office of Transport of the canton of Zürich needed a solution to help provide detailed traffic information.

In 2013, a network of BlipTrack sensors, from Denmark-based information technology company BLIP Systems was installed by Innolutions GmbH, along specific routes in and around the canton of Zürich.

Reisezeiten_Routen_vereinfacht_2014_10_21-01

In the 5-year project, over 80 sensors will measure real-time travel times and analyze road traffic on 50 main routes for about a month per year. The collected traffic information, which is analyzed and documented by DTV-Verkehrsconsult, is primarily used for strategic-planning tasks, such as identifying time-critical route sections, provide information about alternative routes that are not signaled, and detecting changes in traffic patterns. In addition, by comparing travel times on roads shared with public transport, the competitiveness of transport means on particular relations is revealed. These results are also considered in regional traffic concepts.

The measured routes and results will be available later this week on: http://maps.zh.ch/

"The main reason for installing the sensors is to gain data about travel times and to get an idea of how the quality in transport is developing. The development and knowledge of the travel times helps us to identify potential for improvements in our road network,” says Christian Ordon, project leader at the Office of Transport of the canton of Zürich.

“We conducted an independent field test in 2011 to investigate the options of using Bluetooth-technology in terms of traffic management. The results, especially in collecting travel times and turning ratios were convincing. Bluetooth-technology is the easiest way of collecting valid data for a travel time measurement,” says Thorsten Kathmann, project leader at DTV-Verkehrsconsult.

“The installation and commission of BlipTrack sensors is easy and user-friendly. All traffic information is presented in real-time and in selectable graphics, accordingly to the wishes of the user," says Remo Schiltknecht, project manager at Innolutions GmbH.

“We value the long-term cooperation with canton of Zurich and with all the parties involved in the project. It is a privilege to work with such dedicated and professional people. We look forward to be a part of Zürich´s ongoing plan to be one of Europe´s most progressive cities,” says Mads Bo Frederiksen, Sales Manager at BLIP Systems.

BlipTrack-Traffic-IllustrationThe Office of Transport is considering using the solution for permanent travel time measurements. This will enable the canton of Zürich to create an even better scheme of the daily commute and road network improvements. In addition, the canton is considering using the data to provide drivers with real-time traffic information, such as driving times and alternative routes, which will ultimately help to improve the economic benefits through reduced travel times, fuel consumption and vehicle emissions.

Besides measuring and improving traffic in Switzerland, the BlipTrack solution is successfully employed in optimization efforts for road traffic in New Zealand, USA, UK, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Canada and Ireland. BlipTrack is also implemented in more than 25 international airports, including Genève, New York, Cincinnati, Amsterdam, Dubai, Dublin, Toronto, Milano, Barcelona, Auckland, Brussels, Oslo, Manchester, Copenhagen and Helsinki. In recent years, the solution has also been rolled out in ports in Dover and Aalborg, train stations i Holland, ski resorts in the US, amusement parks in Denmark, and at events 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.

Share this story

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

“The data from the BlipTrack sensors reveals, how reliable traveling times are and how much they vary. Furthermore, they show, which routes are used for shortcuts in peak times. This information is useful for managing road traffic”.

Dr. Christian Ordon

Project Leader at the Office of Transport of the Canton of Zürich.

“The BlipTrack solution is the easiest way of collecting valid data for a travel time measurement. The data, especially when used for collecting travel times and turning ratios, are very accurate.”

Thorsten Kathmann

Project leader at DTV-Verkehrsconsult

The installation and commission of BlipTrack sensors is easy and the interface is very user-friendly. All traffic information is presented in real-time and in selectable graphics, accordingly to the wishes of the user.”

Rolf Arnold

Director at Innolutions GmbH