The ongoing pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands across the nation hasn't stopped many Americans from traveling
this holiday season, so Orlando International Airport has turned to new technology to keep travelers as safe as possible.
Earlier this season, they rolled out the world’s first installation of the Evenflow Crowd Radar system at select gates to allow for easier physical distancing. The system anonymously measures crowd density and then alerts travelers of areas where there are fewer people via digital signage and light beacons.
The light beacons, known as Social Lights, go from green to yellow to red, based on crowd density, measured via Lidar and heat mapping. ReadySeeGo digital signs totems display information, including a map of the area, and show which gates are the most crowded.
Image via Orlando International Airport
“Evenflow Crowd Radar uses behavioral science to make the airport safer for passengers, employees, and the public,” explained Yahav Ran, CEO of Synect, the company behind the Crowd Radar system. “We’re proud to be working with the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority and a team of leading scientists to demonstrate how visual communication drives compliance and promotes healthier passenger behavior.”
According to Synect, the system is already proving its worth
when despite large crowds around Thanksgiving, the areas with the crowd radar “saw a drastic reduction of social distancing breaches.”
“While we are encouraged by increasing passenger traffic, we know the responsibility to maintain our guests’ well-being increases as well,” said Phil Brown
, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority CEO. “This new system will hopefully help passengers make informed decisions and reduce the anxiety that accompanies travel during these challenging times.”
Similar tracking programs have begun being rolled out on cruise ships
and shopping centers
. While current physical distancing concerns lead the push to implement the technology, the data is valuable beyond the pandemic.
The airport can use the data collected through the system to understand what areas are used more frequently, including cleaning activity and a better understanding of crowd flow. The cleaning staff also wear badges linked to the system that tracks when an area has been cleaned. The data collected can be hyper-localized, down to specific pieces of furniture.
The system is currently being tested at gates 101-109. After several months of testing, the airport will analyze the data and then evaluate whether to continue the system airport-wide.