Smart city

Why counting pedestrians is at the heart of a smart city

A city’s vitality depends upon pedestrians. There is a direct link between economic prosperity and the safety and ease of being a pedestrian. The more we who live in cities walk, the better the city in almost all respects: health, retail spending and emissions pollution.

Find out more about smart cities, or read on to discover how individual cities are using smart pedestrian counts.

Manchester, UK

Manchester wants to use big data to provide real-time information for residents and workers, and to better use information to help policy makers. The city is aiming to:

  • Identify opportunities to improve city “walkability” and transport.
  • Measure the impacts of events and specific marketing campaigns on pedestrian activity
  • Monitor retail activity in the city
  • Assist the business community in developing marketing strategies to maximise their exposure and identify staffing, security and resource requirements.

Melbourne, Australia

The City of Melbourne in Australia has developed an automated people counting system to better understand pedestrian activity within the municipality. The information is being used to examine how people use different city locations at different times of day to better inform decision-making and plan for the future.

They use the information gained to

  • inform decisions about urban planning and management
  • identify opportunities to improve city walkability and transport
  • measure the impacts of events and specific marketing campaigns on pedestrian activity
  • monitor retail activity in the city
  • assist the business community in developing marketing strategies to maximise their exposure and identify staffing, security and resource requirements.

The locations for pedestrian counting were selected based on three criteria – retail and event activity, regular pedestrian use and the egress and entry flow to these areas.

Chicago, USA

Chicago’s cameras capture images, which are locally processed and reduced to an extracted measurement, such as the count of trucks or pedestrians that passed by in a 30-second window. The count – but not the images – are saved and made available as open data.

They aim to use the data, amongst other things, to help in both the last-mile planning for deliveries and in the last-meter planning. The most time-consuming portion of a short-range trip may be getting into or out of a loading dock, and avoiding heavy pedestrian times at a given location can add up.

Find out More

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