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Xovis Whitepaper Physical Distancing Queue Illustration

Physical Distancing in Crowded Spaces


We show how real-time people flow data can be used to assess and ensure the safety of pedestrian facilities in presence of a contagious disease.

Xovis has been known for its expertise in people flow solutions for over 10 years. Our team of scientists apply the academic research of crowd movement in the conception, development and implementation of people flow analyses. This expertise is the foundation of our powerful algorithms which are now also being used to tackle new challenges that have emerged. Hence we also did not start from scratch with 'Physical Distancing'. The unparalleled accuracy of our technology builds the foundation to effectively dealing with this challenge.

We are aware that this issue is anything but trivial. The complexity must be considered and details must be worked out before solution-oriented action can be taken. Flurin Hänseler, Research Scientist at Xovis, is a subject matter expert on modeling pedestrian flows. He has published the theoretical foundation of dealing with 'Physical Distancing' in crowded spaces in a scientific whitepaper.

Xovis derives indicators that identify and monitor areas prone to contagion (such as packed queues caused by too narrow pedestrian routing), and to identify spontaneous gatherings of people that result from problematic behavior (such as people standing too close to each other). Such knowledge is of key importance to facility operators in their quest to re-open essential facilities, as well as to surveillance personnel in guaranteeing everyone’s safety. Our approach is based on two premises: basic knowledge of the type of contagion risk and availability of a high-precision people flow monitoring system.

A common sight at airports: self check-in kiosks on the left and a queue for security with an overflow area before the entry gates. The Xovis sensors can be used to generate different contagion maps, focusing on absolute contagion (high contagion risks in busy areas), relative contagion (contagion risk corrected for density) and contagious groups (groups that violate physical distancing).

Physical Distancing Illustration Xovis

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Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks as we shared how this is implemented in practice across a wide range of buildings and spaces. Download the document and contact us if you have any questions. We are always happy to help you.

About Xovis

Xovis is the leading provider of people flow solutions. Over 100,000 of our high-accuracy sensors have been deployed across a wide-range of industries. Over 75 airports globally and system integrators in the retail sector and other industries count on Xovis. Our customers measure KPIs such as footfall, queue length and waiting times to optimize customer experience and increase revenue.

Portrait Flurin Haenseler

About the Author

Flurin Hänseler holds a Ph.D. in Transportation Systems Engineering from EPFL, Switzerland, which he obtained on the ‘Modeling and Estimation of Pedestrian Flows in Train Stations.’ He holds degrees in Mechanical and Process Engineering from ETH Zürich, Switzerland. Following a post-doc at TU Delft, the Netherlands, he has been a research scientist at Xovis since 2018, where he is in charge of the algorithms behind the advanced analytics line-up including queue detection and airport passenger forecasting.