26 May 2016

Improving travellers comfort and safety

Appointed by the Netherlands Railways (NS), Royal HaskoningDHV is accurately measuring the complex pedestrian flows of Amsterdam Central Station since the beginning of May. The data that these measurements is yielding, enables NS to optimise the often complex pedestrian flows at this station, thereby improving comfort and safety of the 250,000 daily visitors of Amsterdam Central Station.

Cutting edge technology

At Amsterdam Central Station, different technologies are used to measure traveller flows. Royal HaskoningDHV has opted for both counting and measurement systems. Eelco Thiellier SMART Station programme manager at Royal HaskoningDHV: ‘We’ve implemented a range of technologies that are already in use at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol train station, Utrecht Central station and Leiden Central station. Not only do we understand the key parts of any station infrastructure and how they are engineered, but our technology expertise means that we can create the right solutions to maximise station capacity. This is a great example of where we can add value throughout the lifetime of a project – not just at the point of its construction.

The measurement is validated and extremely accurate, even with large numbers of travellers. Tracking and counting sensors at the station’s entrances and exits pick up are used, including WiFi tracking from mobile devices, such as mobile phones and tablets. We can then see where flows of pedestrians enter and leave the station and can measure their numbers, walking routes, length of stay, times of day, and how busy the different locations are.

From data to solution

The data gathered is then analysed to inform new measures that improve pedestrian flow around the station. According to Thiellier: ‘For our clients, these measures might include changing the design and layout of the station, relocating public transport gates or deploying station staff differently. But they could also involve finding the most logical positions for signposting and the best points to offer station and other information.

Processing large traveller flows at a station is a massive challenge,’ explains Thiellier, ‘Amsterdam Central is complex due to the huge number of travellers and their various motivations. To manage traveller flows, you need to know which locations are busy and where people are heading. To measure is to know.