Antwerp to measure crowds through mobile phone data
The city of Antwerp will soon start the largest project of its kind in Europe when it begins monitoring the flow of people using their mobile phone signals
The project involves installing sensors around the city, mostly in the tourist areas and the main shopping and traffic arteries. The sensors will pick up signals from each phone in the vicinity. Once all the data are brought together, researchers will be able to map the flow people at any given time or place.
Privacy is assured, mayor Bart De Wever said. “We only pick up the signal, we don’t know whose phone it comes from.” He explained one of the uses of the technology: last year’s winter sales, when the centre of Antwerp was brought to a standstill by dense traffic. The real-time information from the City of Things would have allowed a more rapid response, allowing visitors arriving by car to be diverted to parking places on the edge of the city, he said.
The system will also be able to more accurately determine numbers at gatherings or protests. The system was already tested at last year’s Gentse Feesten, but the Antwerp project is much larger.
Photo by Antoine Sipos/Flickr Commons
completed research projects
2013 research budget in millions of euros