Airports are using an alternative to beacon technology in order to manage and improve long-standing issues around taxi queues.
Whilst still using mobile devices to work out passenger flows and how to handle supply and demand of taxis at terminals, New York JFK Airport, San Diego Airport and Brussels Airport have taken a different approach to the beacon-type services that require passengers to have downloaded some form of app.
Instead, any passenger mobile that is using a wifi connection or has Bluetooth enabled can be tracked automatically, giving airport operators the ability to monitor movements, busy periods and then react accordingly.
The platform, known as BlipTrack and run by Danish company Blip Systems, was installed at the San Diego facility after it received complaints from passengers about waiting times for ground transportation.
The system also uses both real-time and historical wait-time data to manage taxi and shuttle van waiting times, essentially allowing airports to allocate resources (including taxis) to better manage pinch points and issues around the airport.
Blip argues that iBeacons are a far less efficient use of mobile tracking because of the app-download requirement, often to the extent that the “penetration rate” is 1% compared to its own system’s 40%.
San Diego Airport, for example, says it now automatically starts working at fixing problematic taxi queue areas (by calling on the taxi dispatch system or sending more staff) when a line exceeds ten minutes for passengers.