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Building a Passenger Traffic Monitoring System

Software Development
Logistics and transportation

The customer

The customer is a European airport that serves 36 worldwide destinations. At the moment, 26 airlines operate their year-round and seasonal routes at the airport. Established in 1936, the airhub’s major facilities now include a passenger terminal with 14 gates, 5 taxiways, 4 cargo terminals, and an aviation museum.

The need

Initially, the airport was built to annually receive 2.6 million people maximum. When the customer turned to Altoros, the passenger flow reached nearly 3.3 million per year, causing capacity issues. To improve traffic management, the customer needed to understand how much time passengers spend in a security zone and passport control.

Collaborating with Altoros, the customer wanted to develop a solution for real-time monitoring and analysis of passenger traffic in the busiest airport zone—security check.

The challenges

Under the project, the team at Altoros had to address the following issues:

  • The system had to identify passengers in the security zone even if their devices are not connected to Wi-Fi.
  • The solution had to distinguish passengers from airport personnel/passersby despite the fact that Android/iOS devices use MAC address randomization to restrict tracking.
  • It was important to ensure the highest accuracy possible during real-time traffic monitoring and analysis.

The solution

Developers at Altoros delivered a proof of concept that monitors and analyzes passenger traffic in the security zone in real time. The system updates information every 5, 15, 30, and 60 minutes, as well as visualizes the traffic flow in a graphic. Using Aruba Networks, our engineers tracked the Wi-Fi probe requests sent by smartphones, thus identifying whether a passenger is in the security zone. By filtering out the devices that have inbuilt randomization of MAC addresses, the team at Altoros enabled the system to distinguish airport personnel/passersby from passengers. To achieve high accuracy of traffic analysis, our engineers implemented the logic written in the R programming language frequently used for statistical and data analysis purposes.

The outcome

Cooperating with Altoros, the customer enabled real-time monitoring and analysis of passenger flow at the airport with 3.3-million traffic per year. With high accuracy of analysis, it became possible to distinguish personnel and passersby from passengers. Now, the airport is also capable of sharing the results of analytics with their security service partner to come up with informed operational and staffing plans.

Technology stack

Platform

Windows Server

Programming languages

Python, R, JavaScript

Frameworks and tools

Aruba’s Analytics and Location Engine (ALE), React, React-vis, CSS Modules, PostgREST

Databases

PostgreSQL

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