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Citymesh maps the number of passers-by in Bruges and Ghent shopping streets

11/01/2022

From January to March 2022, a special pilot project will take place in Bruges and Ghent: smart technology will be used to measure how busy it is in several shopping streets. This is part of the VLOED project, which is being carried out by the city of Bruges in collaboration with the city of Ghent. The Footfall AI and sensors using Sigfox technology from Citymesh will support the cities in collecting data and counting passers-by.

CROWD DATA IN DETAIL

The shopping streets in Bruges are popular with both locals and tourists. Sometimes it is very busy, but how busy is it exactly? And on which days and at which times is the number of shoppers the greatest? The City of Bruges and the traders in the city centre will soon have a detailed answer to these questions. Since January, small boxes with (radio) sensors and smart cameras, such as the Footfall AI from Citymesh, have been hanging on some of the façades in the Zuidzandstraat and the Steenstraat. These are used to count passers-by and sketch a picture of the crowds. In Ghent, this measuring technology will also be installed in some shopping streets during the VLOED pilot project.

The Footfall AI not only counts the number of people within a certain area of the street, but it can also analyse whether these are pedestrians, cyclists, cars or buses. In this way, an overall picture of the traffic in the shopping streets is obtained. Great attention is paid to the privacy of passers-by: no images are recorded and the parties involved only receive a numerical analysis. In addition, energy-efficient LPWAN sensors were installed. The data generated by these sensors can be used to see global trends over a longer period of time.

SUPPORT FOR THE ECONOMIC SECTOR

The data collected will be evaluated by the City of Bruges in order to provide merchants with more information about the number of passers-by in their street. Minou Esquenet, Bruges' municipal officer for Smart City, is enthusiastic about the project: "Measuring the flow of people is interesting for us as a city anyway. This project will enable us to generate additional data-flows. Initially, these will serve to support the local economic sector, but we hope to be able to expand this further in the future."

In what ways can the data collected help local traders? It is expected that they will give a good indication of the crowds. This will help traders to plan in advance how many visitors they will have and how many staff they will need. Because the pilot project will run for several months, it will be possible to map out any developments. In time, a web platform will be created on which the analysis will be available to all economic actors, such as entrepreneurs and hotel and catering owners.

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