Crowd Flow Dashboard

The Crowd Flow Dashboard aims to increase crowd related data availability across city departments and builds on previous findings in the SCORE project.

The challenge

Some European cities want to make use of real-time visibility data to monitor, anticipate and react to crowd concentrations and flows. Negative impacts associated with crowds include garbage issues, mobility congestion and general nuisance in the city during major events, due to focalized overtourism, areas overflowing with people during peak hours, etc.

The central needs of cities on people's presence and flow through the city are:

  • To enable and facilitate better decision-making,
  • To validate and fact check assumptions (or invalidate inaccurate perceptions) with data,
  • To acquire additional insights.

Specific challenges related to crowd flow could be:

  • To manage overcrowding and take measures where needed,
  • To improve quality of life for citizens, and at the same time to improve the experience for city visitors.

Inspired by several initiatives in Amsterdam related to crowdedness, Ghent is analyzing such challenges further, applying it to an open data and specific challenge driven perspective. Together with Digipolis Ghent, the City of Ghent is working from multiple city department angles (Mobility, Tourism, Events, Economy, etc.) on:

  • crowd related data source availability and awareness across departments,
    real-time visualization,
  • monitoring during large events,
  • communication and sharing crowdedness information as open data. 

The solution

Ghent and Digipolis Ghent are working together with the DrukteRadar team (Amsterdam) and other SCORE partners to define, design and develop potential new open smart city applications on crowd flow. Applying the privacy by design approach, datasets from inside and outside the cities are combined and reused to analyze, visualize and predict crowd patterns and flows. The necessary data originates from several sources such as public and private transport, parking lots, hotel reservations, economic activities, tourism, scientific studies, trash management, mobile phone operators, footfall analytics, etc. The application resulting from this SCORE working group will serve both city departments and citizens.

The current status

In Ghent, this project is in its first stage of development. Initial meetings, collaboration and joint presentations have been set up between the partners and available data is being collected.

The Municipality of Amsterdam has developed the DrukteRadar (Crowd Density Radar) and DrukteKalender (Crowd Density Calendar), which use different data sources to calculate, visualize and predict local crowd flow and density. The aim of the Drukteradar is to use data analytics to anticipate and prevent overcrowding and nuisances in Amsterdam. One of the use cases of the tool is that crowd flows in public spaces like parks, roads and squares during regular days or large events could be better managed. Moreover, it is believed that, if potential visitors know in advance that an area is overcrowded, they might reconsider their visit. All visualizations are published openly to the general public. DrukteRadar visualizes the calculations and predictions for different regions and hot spots on an open map, while DrukteKalender analyzes predictions more closely, revealing elements and factors related to crowd peaks.

The City of Ghent, in partnership with Digipolis Ghent and inspired by the DrukteRadar and DrukteKalender, currently works with city representatives departments (Mobility, Tourism, Events, Economy, Data & Information) to define and design a data and analysis toolkit in which each department's specific questions on crowd density & flow can be handled in a more data driven way. From the perspective of policy questions and operational needs, and in close collaboration with other Flemish local governments through a SmartFlanders pilot on crowd
flow, Ghent aims to:

  • increase crowd related data availability (and also awareness of such availability) across city departments,
  • develop useful data availability registries, visualizations, monitoring tools, where the participating departments can reconfigure a default “Crowd Flow Dashboard” to their own needs regarding crowd density and flow,
  • come to a common understanding and a relevant set of common definitions of the terminology that is used in such projects. (how would you, for instance, based on available data, define the difference between a 'brief stay'- and a 'long stay'-tourist?)

Ghent and Digipolis Ghent aim to start developing this application as one of the common solutions within the SCORE project, using open source and open data to provide it in a generic way to other cities, so it can be co-developed and replicated during SCORE.

Ambitions after SCORE

During and after the SCORE project, this working group aims to inspire other European cities with similar ambitions on the topic. Based on SCORE's core vision on open data, we aim that our methodology and results are readily available, easy to replicate and to customize by the other cities following in our footsteps. The ambition is that the resulting application is easy to implement and adapt to other cities with different types of local data sources.

Join us

The application's source code will be available for replication on Github soon, so its development can be followed closely and improvements can be suggested.

SCORE is a collaboration oriented, open source development project. You're most welcome to co-develop this application or follow its development more closely, if so don't hesitate to get in touch with us. 

Contact

Justine Ottevaere: Justine.Ottevaere@stad.gent
Tim van Achte: tim.vanachte@digipolis.gent

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