Tampa International Airport is at the forefront of crowd control technology with the implementation of new “Lidar” technology. Lidar, similar to radar, uses sensors and systems to track the movement of individuals in real-time on computer screens. This cutting-edge technology allows airport officials to monitor crowds at security, concessions, gates, and even shuttle terminals.
Emily Nipps, an airport spokesperson, stated that this Thanksgiving holiday will see record travelers, and being able to anticipate or know where the biggest crowds are located is crucial. The California-based company “The Indoor Lab” installed the Lidar sensors and system at TPA. The technology can even display people up to five feet tall in red if they are taller than that. Currently, Lidar’s main use is for crowd control purposes. Officials can take immediate action by opening another TSA lane or speeding up concession lines based on live data shown on the system.
While TPA has only covered about 10% of their airport with Lidar technology so far, plans are underway to expand it in the future. Nipps added that they are not yet utilizing it to its full capacity but are simply testing it out from a crowd control and traffic flow perspective. However, she said that Lidar technology works both indoors and outdoors and could be used at any facility with crowds of people.
The use of Lidar technology has many potential benefits beyond just crowd control. It could also be used for traffic flow management and predictive analytics for airport operations such as parking lot occupancy management or flight schedule prediction. Overall, Tampa International Airport’s implementation of Lidar technology represents a significant investment in safety and efficiency for passengers traveling through their busy hub during peak travel seasons like Thanksgiving.