Increasing international travel is having a major impact on aviation hubs such as New Zealand’s Auckland International, which saw over 19 million passengers in 2017. To cope with the ever-growing passenger load, on February 1, 2018, the airport announced it is rolling out a combined passenger-flow and road-traffic measurement project.

Auckland International is a growing hub for travel. By the year 2044, the airport expects to host over 40 million passengers annually. But the increased flow creates logistic issues that can create delays for passengers, airport staff and airline crew, resulting in disruptions to airport and airline operations.

To tackle both passenger and traffic flow issues, the airport opts to use a combination of traffic and passenger flow measurement technology. The goal is to obtain real-time cohesive view of people movement patterns in order to guide daily and long-term operational decisions, maximize capacity and improve passenger flow.

With the new project, Auckland International hopes to ensure that they will have the capacity to handle the extra load, achieve faster travel times and acceptable wait times for passengers, making their journey as smooth as possible.

Auckland Airport had already implemented BlipTrack solution to gather intelligence on passenger movement inside the terminals. However, until now, they had no real-time intelligence on the road network to and from the airport. The gathered information would help the airport and the city plan resources more effectively.

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 road infrastructure. This now provides the airport with a clear picture of traffic flow information between the airport and Auckland’s Central Business District (CBD).

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 analyzed 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.

In addition, the real-time and historic BlipTrack data enables NZTA to display live travel times between the CBD and airport, as well as informing about days with high risk of congestion. This enables road users to plan ahead, reducing both the risk of travelers missing their flight and airport employees coming in late for work.

How it works 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.

Numerous other international airports, including Amsterdam Schiphol, Copenhagen, Dublin, Brussels and Bristol, are following suit. Comprehensive passenger flow data is indispensable in guiding physical expansion plans, and for streamlining operations to accommodate rapid passenger volume growth.