As part of its Smart City strategy, Bruges is leveraging a range of relevant data, including information on the city's crowd levels.
One of the primary objectives is to provide local businesses with insights into the current crowd situation in their respective zones and to make forecasts for the (near) future. By granting law enforcement and policymakers valuable insights into the flow of people throughout the city, such data also contributes to maintaining the city's manageability.
In the VLOED project various measurement technologies were tested. To obtain highly detailed data at the level of squares, streets, or specific shopping districts, Bruges has turned to CrowdScan's privacy-friendly sensor technology, starting last summer.
Lode Nulens, ICT Manager at the City of Bruges, expressed: "The VLOED project allowed us to test several systems side by side. It became evident that CrowdScan is the best equipped to measure crowd density in specific zones. Each zone can further be divided into subzones, enabling us to perform even more detailed crowd analyses. Various departments, including Tourism, Economy, and Mobility, will utilize this data to support their policy making."
Each zone can further be divided into subzones, enabling us to perform even more detailed crowd analyses.
Lode Nulens, ICT Manager Bruges
Integrated into the urban landscape
Main shopping streets like Zuidzandstraat to Steenstraat and busy squares like Simon Stevinplein and Markt will be closely monitored for three consecutive years. Furthermore, CrowdScan will provide a temporary mobile installation for events.
CrowdScan's technology relies on a central unit, known as a 'gateway,' and sensors that communicate with each other. Crowd density is deduced from the resulting signal attenuation caused by individuals in the area. The unique patented technology does not rely on Wi-Fi, cameras, or mobile devices, making it inherently privacy-friendly. Additionally, the hardware is incredibly easy to install, with sensors operating on batteries lasting a minimum of three years. Only the gateway requires a power source.
Anton Dierickx, Co-founder and COO of CrowdScan, commented: "Given that the historic center of Bruges is a UNESCO World Heritage site, we had to collaborate closely with the city's relevant departments to ensure the technology's integration into the urban landscape would not harm protected monuments. We've succeeded in this endeavor. We are immensely proud to provide accurate crowd data to a renowned tourist city like Bruges for three consecutive years, as a small startup."
In a world where privacy and data are paramount, CrowdScan's innovative and privacy-friendly approach offers valuable insights into crowd dynamics, enabling cities like Bruges to enhance their urban planning and management. The three-year project promises to yield valuable data that will shape the city's future policies and ensure a more pleasant experience for both residents and visitors alike.