New Zealand airport uses Bluetooth monitoring system to aid vehicle and passenger flow


New Zealand’s Auckland Airport has embarked on a wide-ranging and world-first combined passenger-flow and road-traffic measurement project, with the aim of obtaining a real-time cohesive view of movement patterns.

Handling over 19 million passengers last year, Auckland Airport needed a system to guide daily and long-term operational decisions, maximize capacity, and improve vehicle and passenger flow.

The airport already had a mass of intelligence on passenger movement inside the terminals, due to its BlipTrack Bluetooth monitoring system from Danish company Blip Systems. However, it had no real-time intelligence on the road network to and from the airport. Having used the BlipTrack technology in several traffic monitoring projects in New Zealand, infrastructure consultancy Beca was commissioned to extend the system across the airport’s road network. This now provides a seamless picture of traffic flow information between the airport and Auckland’s CBD (Central Business District).

Outside the airport, the solution measures traffic flow between the city and the airport, providing real-time data on reliability, vehicle counts and travel time. It also provides data about the mix of staff and passengers using the park and ride facility, enabling the airport to better understand its performance, with the information also analyzed to help planning decisions for road maintenance and infrastructure projects.

The New Zealand Traffic Agency (NZTA) also uses the BlipTrack data, combined with its existing radar and wireless sensors, to make informed traffic management decisions, and has allowed the implementation of several initiatives to improve vehicle flow to the airport. These include optimizing traffic signal timings, and combined with the recent opening of the Waterview Connection motorway section, has resulted in significant travel time cuts to and from the airport.

In addition, the real-time and historic BlipTrack data enables NZTA, via its new RideMate app and Driveline website, to display live travel times between the CBD and airport, as well as information about days with high risk of congestion. The historical data is also used to detect driving time anomalies, pinpointing areas where patterns deviate from the norm due to construction projects, incidents, roadworks, faulty traffic lights and other factors.

“With Auckland Airport and Beca working together, and by sharing data between multiple systems, 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,” noted Peter Knudsen, CEO of Blip Systems. “Because it’s not only limited to certain areas, it can be considered one of the first real, tangible steps to true multimodal traffic management.”

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About Author


Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).