Barcelona airport traffic controlled by Sensefields

Published: 05 September 2018

One of the busiest airports in the world, the ‘El Prat’ airport of Barcelona, is managing its entire vehicle flow based on intelligent data technology systems. 


Analysis, monitoring and regulation of the traffic flow on both terminals of Barcelona airport, El Prat, situated 13 km from one of the most visited cities in the world, were the main challenges of the operator that manages the spanish public airports, AENA – Spanish Airports and Air Navigation. Because of the very busy premises of Barcelona airport, the company identified the fundamental need of traffic management improvement to enhance operations, as well as the visitor experience.


The efficient qualitative and quantitative analysis of the inbound and outbound traffic at the airport demanded a sophisticated data collection and distribution solution something that was not possible while the airport’s drop-off, parking and pick-up services were managed by on-site personnel communicating via radio transmitters or cell phones.


The challenge for AENA was the successful airport mobility management resulting from the adaptation of the regulation plans to the operation patterns based on real-time data. This could only be achieved through a highly accurate traffic data management system, says Antonio Lalaguna Lisa, CTO of Sensefields.


Based on AENA´s automatization project requirements, Sensefields wireless traffic data management technology was selected as the ideal tool for controlling the traffic on the short stay “parking express” areas in the departure zones as well as at the taxi pick-up area in arrivals. Reporting on quantitative and qualitative real time, historical and statistical traffic data of the entire airport premises as a whole was also required. Ensuring data accuracy, easy and quick application, and very low maintenance costs, Sensefields technology provided three traffic solutions that have been confirmed as very successful:



Taxi traffic flow monitoring

To regulate the taxi traffic between the holding  zone, where the taxis queue before passing through the airport terminal exit, and the passenger pick-up area, Sensefields designed a customized solution that can efficiently handle the supply and demand of taxis, standardize the length of the queues, enhance security and facilitate the smooth flow of traffic.


Sensefields wireless magnetic sensors are installed in both the holding zone and the pick-up area and transmit traffic data to the data processing stations. This data is passed to the collector server, which is incorporated into the airport’s centrally controlled management software, and enables real-time communication between the two airport areas. This integrated data collection and bidirectional communication system is used to facilitate, report and monitor all taxi traffic processes in the area:



  • Providing the real-time number of taxis waiting in each of the loading zones, the number of vehicles that have passed through each zone and the real-time number of the vehicles in the waiting areas
  • Monitoring the exit time and the destination of the taxis parked in the waiting area
  • Automatically opening/closing the exit barriers of the waiting areas depending on vehicle demand in the loading zones
  • Informing taxi drivers stationed in the waiting areas about the actual status of the loading zones, letting them know via LED signs if they are in need of vehicles and how many
  • Calculating the minimum number of vehicles that should be available in each of the loading zones according to the time, demand and additional parameters, so that more taxis are requested from the waiting areas if required
  • Interconnecting the Sensefields collector server with the Scena flight information system, so that if there are no scheduled flight arrivals, the flow of taxis to the loading area is paused
  • Obtaining real-time data, statistics and reports, in conjunction with historical data




Controlling the express parking zones

For the express parking areas, control stations have been installed at the parking zones’ entrance and after the access barriers. The collected data, which is transmitted to Sensefields Collector Server, is processed using algorithms to identify the number of vehicles queued at each barrier, generate alarms according to the minimum or maximum number of vehicles a and report daily, historical and statistical data according to time slot and terminal.


Sensefields traffic information management software Fastrack



The power of data

Recognizing the crucial role of data management for the airport, the client moved on with an advanced classification and quantification system to gain a complete and highly accurate image of all inbound and outbound airport traffic: real-time quantity, type and speed of the vehicles that access or leave the terminals, as well as daily and historical data, graphs, statistics and reports that give clear insights about the traffic flow based on lane, time, terminal and type of vehicle.


With an application turnaround time of two months, El Prat can now efficiently handle the millions of passenger arrivals every year, and make well-founded management, operational, commercial and administrative decisions based both on experience and actual conditions. The Sensefields product is expected to reduce congestion outside the terminals, ensure road safety and maintain continuous taxi availability for a unique service experience from the very first moment passengers arrive in Barcelona!



Intelligent Airport Mobility At Barcelona Airport


  • Traffic flow monitoring
  • Wireless traffic data management technology
  • Data accuracy
  • Data processing
  • Data management
  • Real-time traffic data
  • Real-time communications
  • Airport mobility data control
  • Wireless magnetometers
  • Data Processing Station


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