Going through security at the airport is necessary. However, waiting for what seems like forever with your shoes dangling in your hands is not necessary.
Thankfully, airports are working to remove some of the travel stressors by using technology to gauge where overcrowding is happening. Understanding where long wait times frequently build up can help airlines find solutions to redirect crowds.
And passengers who aren’t stuck standing in long lines before getting to their gates are happier passengers.
One of the airports leading the way for utilizing technology to minimize crowding is LaGuardia in New York City. Often described as an airport of nightmares in the past, LaGuardia is undergoing significant renovations to make traveling through the Queens airport a beautiful dream.
LaGuardia recently partnered up with Xovis, an international market leader for intelligent people flow solutions. With a busy holiday season approaching, this partnership is sure to make for holly, jolly travel experiences for all New York natives.
LaGuardia’s new state-of-the-art terminal B Arrivals and Departures Hall features Xovis’s Passenger Tracking System (PTS). The PTS combines 3D sensors and software to improve efficiency throughout the airport by addressing the most dreaded part of the passenger journey—the lines.
Xovis’s technology measures occupancy, people flow, and social distancing throughout the terminal to optimize comfort and cut down on queuing in restrooms, security lanes, and the indoor/outdoor taxi and rideshare lines. The PTS also enables facemask detection to ensure safety for all passengers.
In LaGuardia’s Terminal B alone, there are over 45 3D sensors both inside and outside at the security screening and taxi scans. Wait times are displayed on dynamic signs based on the 3D images directly computed on the ceiling-mounted sensors. Airport employees can then make adjustments to the queue zones based on passenger demand.
“We were honored to be a part of this monumental project to help keep passengers moving seamlessly through the sixteen new security lanes and indoor/outdoor taxi queue,” said Cody Shulman, the Manager Director of Xovis North America. “[LaGuardia’s] Terminal B is setting the bar high for other airports to incorporate technology to improve the passenger journey and increase customer satisfaction.”
After five years of planning and construction, LaGuardia’s updated Terminal B finally opened in June 2020. The new Arrivals and Departures Hall is nearly twice the size of the older version, now standing at over 850,000 square feet.
Aside from the new Xovis PTS, the new terminal is equipped with other state-of-the-art technologies to improve the passengers’ experience. The PTS software receives data streams from the sensors to share with LaGuardia Gateway Partners (LGP).
LGP is the terminal manager and developer comprised of Vantage Airport Group, Skanska, Meridiam, and JLC Infrastructure for development and equity investment. Vantage Airport Group has spearheaded the Terminal B redevelopment program and management.
The LGP evaluates Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as wait times, process times, and passenger throughput. They use these KPIs to make rapid evaluations that enable them to:
Identify overcrowded areas and passenger bottlenecks
Display wait times for various lines
Monitor passenger compliance with various rules, such as social distancing and mask-wearing
Analyze real-time data at every process point with ease
Replay events from multiple vantage points to identify the cause of an issue
Being able to monitor terminals quickly and accurately is essential to manage the flow of people and make informed decisions about how to redistribute the lines.
Finding ways to get people through security or into a taxi faster will drastically improve the airport experience, especially during peak travel hours in a day. We think it’s just good Jetiquette to keep the passengers happy, and when travelers are less disgruntled, they’re more likely to be on their best behavior as well.
LaGuardia has invested $4 billion into renovating this terminal, and they’ve primarily focused on enhancing the guest experience and operational efficiency.
Edward D’Angelo, the LGP Director of Information Technology, stated that “Xovis has been an important strategic partner in the design and implementation for the new Terminal B passenger wait time solution. Xovis has provided accurate passenger wait time data, helping drive operational efficiency and enabling us to relay important, in the moment, information to our passengers.”
This isn’t Xovis’s first time helping streamline the NYC area’s overcrowding issues. Xovis has worked for two other significant transportation facilities in New York and New Jersey. Navigating travel in the COVID era has been stressful, to say the least, but Xovis is working to take some of the pressure off of both the employees and customers.
Their systems are based on simple integration, data protection compliance, high precision, and AI-based features. Since its founding in 2008, Xovis has installed over 200,000 sensors globally for precise counting and analyzing people flows.
We hope that more airports and other travel administrators will invest in Xovis’s technology. As long as airports continue to work toward streamlining travel for passengers, flying will be a friendlier endeavor for all involved.