It’s not just Retailers who Count People

It’s not just retailers who benefit from counting how many people come through their doors. Many other businesses are now monitoring footfall, such as sporting venues, bus operators, garden centres, banks, student unions, museums and libraries.

Bars, Pubs and Clubs

Increasingly bars, pubs and clubs are monitoring how many people are in their premises at any one time. A sophisticated people counting system tells managers not just how many people are currently in the building, but how many are in each room. Police often strictly enforce occupancy limits as a means to control crowding which might lead to fights. Building occupancy fire codes help ensure that people can exit a building safely during an emergency. Using an automatic people counting system provides proof of occupancy at all times.

Counting people in bars
Counting people in bars

Sporting Venues

Thousands of people flood into sporting venues in a very short time, which for some people-counting systems can be challenging. Using a network of cameras though, people counts can be reported in near real-time.

When choosing a people counting system for sporting venues, make sure you choose one that can cope not only with crowds but with shadows, and for evening events, low lighting.

Another benefit of a video counting system for a sporting venue is queue monitoring. The system can accurately count the number of people in a queue and determine the time people spend waiting

Student Unions

University student unions are another place where hoards of people enter every day. Accurate visitor counts prop-up staffing and funding applications. Tracking where people are going lets union managers decide where best to place shops and displays.

Bus, Train and Tram Operators

A different type of business which uses people counters are transportation operators. Video people counters can accurately count passengers getting on and off a bus, train or tram. Analysing these counts lets operators plan their timetables and routes. It also lets them justify any grants they get for running a particular service. The actual usage data is stored for individual days of the week and times of the day, for example every hour or half-hour. Once installed, operators save considerably on training and paying people to count passengers on a particular route.

The automatic video people counters are more accurate than the human counters at around 98%. The video counts can be verified simply by watching a video back and checking the counts.

A people counting system on its own provides valuable information, but when you add vehicle tracking then supervisors can see where a bus or train is as well as how many people are on it. Automated passenger counting provides reliable data at a low cost, no matter how busy the service.

Counting passengers on public transport

The VT passenger counting system implemented on buses is also an efficient management tool which allows management to compare the number of passengers who get on a bus per route against the actual number of tickets issued for the same route . Bus companies are losing thousands of pounds in lost revenue per bus and such a system allows the bus owners to manage such losses.

Museums and Galleries

Many museums are funded by governments, and receive their funding according to how many visitors they get. Video people counting gives a true number of visitors, rather than basing the footfall figure on the number of tickets allocated (for example when a bus-load of children get in under one group ticket). The real-time counts for each area also means that the museum can allocate extra security guards or other staff to that exhibit. This reduces costs: items are more often damaged or stolen in busy rooms with few personnel on duty. It also improves the visitor experience.


Monitoring queues means bank service levels run more efficiently and effectively. Data such as average queue times and the trend analyses of actual queue lengths being monitored over a period of time, allow banks to implement an efficient staff management strategy at the busiest times of the day . This gives banks a much more efficient service level for customers and lowers queue times.

Counting bank customers
Counting bank customers

Garden Centres

For Garden Centre the Video Turnstile system can be extended from just monitoring footfall to a tracking and hot spot mapping system. This allows the owners of the Garden Centres to monitor and track the flow of people as they pass through into different sections of the centre. The heat flow mapping facility lets Garden Centres see the busiest areas. It can help monitor whether any marketing or advertising techniques implemented were successful.

Footfall in garden centre
Counting visitors to garden centres and plant nurseries

Outdoor Town Centres

Counting footfall on the high street allows the town centre managers to charge rent accordingly to clients who may wish to open new businesses within the town centre, and Business-people looking to open a new shop or restaurant could be given accurate figures for footfall past their proposed location to help them assess the potential for their new venture. “Smart” towns and cities identify opportunities to improve city “walkability” and transport. They measure the impacts of events and specific marketing campaigns on pedestrian activity.

Counting people outdoors
Counting people outdoors


More and more libraries are reaping rewards from visitor counters. They are using them to save money, improve services and, increasingly, to justify their existence.

Almost any organisation dealing with large numbers of people crossing their thresholds can benefit from an automatic people counting system.

Call us on +44 (0)161 839 6437 and see if counting people would help your business, or email

Jill Studholme

Writing about people counting since 2002.