Estimating pedestrian densities, wait times, and flows with wi-fi and bluetooth sensors

Abdullah Kurkcu, Kaan Ozbay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Monitoring nonmotorized traffic is gaining more attention in the context of transportation studies. Most of the traditional pedestrian monitoring technologies focus on counting pedestrians passing through a fixed location in the network. It is thus not possible to anonymously track the movement of individuals or groups as they move outside each particular sensor’s range. Moreover, most agencies do not have continuous pedestrian counts mainly because of technological limitations. Wireless data collection technologies, however, can capture crowd dynamics by scanning mobile devices. Data collection that takes advantage of mobile devices has gained much interest in the transportation literature as a result of its low cost, ease of implementation, and richness of the captured data. In this paper, algorithms to filter and aggregate data collected by wireless sensors are investigated, as well as how to fuse additional data sources to improve the estimation of various pedestrian-based performance measures. Procedures to accurately filter the noise in the collected data and to find pedestrian flows, wait times, and counts with wireless sensors are presented. The developed methods are applied to a 2-month-long collection of public transportation terminal data carried out with the use of six sensors. Results point out that if the penetration rate of discoverable devices is known, then it is possible to accurately estimate the number of pedestrians, pedestrian flows, and average wait times in the detection zone of the developed sensors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-82
Number of pages11
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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