Barcelona airport taxi flow monitoring

Intelligent data technology systematises the taxi flow at Barcelona airport

Sensefields wireless magnetic sensors technology was installed at the taxi pick-up areas of the Barcelona Airport “El Prat” to efficiently handle the millions of passenger arrivals every year by reducing congestion, ensuring road safety and maintaining continual taxi availability.


Regulation of the taxi traffic flow at the arrival zones of both terminals of Barcelona airport, situated 13 km from one of the most visited cities worldwide, as a fundamental need of the ‘El Prat’ taxi services improvement, was the consideration of the airport operator that manages the spanish public airports, AENA – Spanish Airports and Air Navigation.


More specifically, AENA was looking for a taxi management system that would monitor and control the traffic flow between the terminals and the airport taxi waiting zones, where the taxis are queuing before they pass through to the passenger pick-up areas at both terminal exits. Up until 2017 this process was executed manually by airport personnel using radio transceivers or mobile phones but automation was highly needed in such a busy international airport.


To achieve that, Sensefields technology was selected as the ideal traffic management intelligence solution. Sensefields wireless magnetic sensors were installed at the taxi waiting zones and the pick-up areas transmitting real-time traffic flow information to Sensefields Data Processing Station — DPS. The collected and processed data sent to Sensefields Collector Server is incorporated into the airport’s control system  SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition). In this way,  the taxi drivers queuing in the waiting zones receive the relevant information about the number of taxis needed in each one of the pick up areas via LED screens.


The integrated data collection and bidirectional communication system is used to facilitate, report and monitor all taxi traffic movements in the area enabling real-time communication between the holding zones and the airport arrivals areas by:

  • Providing the real-time number of taxis in each of the waiting areas and the loading zones
  • Monitoring the exit time of the taxis parked in the waiting areas
  • 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 via LED signs
  • Calculating the minimum number of vehicles that should be available in the loading zones according to time, demand and additional parameters, so that more taxis can be requested from the waiting areas if required
  • Interconnecting Sensefields Collector Server with the SCADA Wonderware system platform of the airport, so that the flow of taxis to the loading area is paused in case that there are no scheduled flight arrivals
  • Obtaining real-time data, statistics and reports in conjunction with historical data for all the waiting and loading zones

Environmental integration and energy efficiency, optimal service quality, decreased management costs and economic sustainability are the main benefits that have been ensured through the successful Sensefields technology application for AENA.


In both airport terminals that were historically relied on the use of personnel who monitored and controlled the taxi queues at street level, Sensefields provided the solution through customized technology that efficiently handles the supply and demand of taxis, standardizes the length of the queues, enhances security and facilitates the smooth flow of traffic.


Comfort and modernity can now be enjoyed by both taxi professionals as well as international visitors, offering a unique experience and marking the steps towards a smart airport – a goal that is heartfully expected in order to be able to offer an excellent first impression of our amazing smart hometown, Barcelona!


Smart Airport Mobility



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