The Eindhoven Airport is the second largest terminal in the Netherlands connecting Brainport to Europe and the world. A traffic growth of 200% is projected for the upcoming years, in response, new strategies are being explored to maintain the operational excellence and the seamless, fast, "Always easy" passenger experience that characterizes the terminal.
Addressing in advance the issue of the waiting time increments to be brought by the upcoming traffic growth was the main goal behind this design project. Thorough research indicated the best strategy to follow is coordinated boarding:
Coordinated boarding is the concept of managing passengers transit in an organized way, taking turns and with the main goal of having a continuos flow of travelers instead of traffic peaks near boarding hours, thus avoiding the funnel effect commonly present at airport's gates and security barriers.
The Eindhoven Airport's Boarding Token is a smart portable device that uses color-coded information and live data to communicate to passengers when they should move through the different stages of transit at the Eindhoven Airport terminal.
The thin devices use wireless connectivity to constantly update their status and communicate with the centralized system in charge of coordinating passenger traffic. Moulded in durable rugged polycarbonate, the tokens pack an array of 16 RGB LED's that indicate passengers when is their turn to go the next stage of their journey. All information transmitted is coded using a combination of color and pulse patterns.
By individually addressing passengers, an airline with a flight leaving earlier could notify and call all passenger at the same time or even by seat number for a quick and efficient boarding process. In an emergency, the airport staff could stop calling passengers for a period of time, cleaning the security area without alarming the entire terminal in the process.
The Eindhoven Airport Boarding Token complete system was prototyped and prepared for a small scale test using off-the-shelf components. Simulated passenger data and real-time flight information was used to test the turn sorting algorithms while the tokens were prototyped using Adafruit Feather boards running MicroPython and using MQTT protocols for communication. The custom-made enclosures protecting the components were manufactured using multi-material Polyjet 3D printing.
Commissioned by the Airport of Eindhoven Innovation Team and mentored by Professors Joep Frens and Bart Hengelveld from the Industrial Design's Future Everyday Research group at the Technical University of Eindhoven, this project was sponsored by DECS, an initiative form ELISAVA, TU/e and Fachhochschule Salzburg University.
For more information visit www.decsproject.net