Passenger Flow Simulation at Frankfurt Airport

As the operating company of several major international airports, Fraport AG is one of the main “Global Players” in the airport industry. With more than 140,000 passengers per day and over 80 aircraft movements per hour, Frankfurt airport – an aviation hub of worldwide significance – is Fraport AG's busiest airport and its home base.

Between 1980 and 2010, the annual passenger volume through Frankfurt has more than tripled from 17 million to 53 million. In its 75-year history, the airport has gone through a variety of construction projects in order to adapt the facilities and meet increasing demands. The result of these adaptations is a very complex structure.

Because further structural changes were limited, Fraport AG decided to develop a passenger flow management system in order to increase capacity utilization and customer satisfaction, e.g. by reducing waiting periods.

Through the use of active terminal management, the passenger flow within the building is controlled, for example, by dynamic signage. The terminal management itself is based on measurements of current passenger traffic and forecasts for the future.

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Passenger Flow Management (Source: Fraport AG)
Video of the model (Source: Fraport AG)

Core to the forecast methodology is a simulation model that was developed by acp-IT AG on behalf of Fraport AG. It is based on the acp-IT InFrame Synapse Simulation Suite and the simulation modeling software, AnyLogic.

In addition to meeting simulation accuracy demands, the target was to achieve very high performance passenger flow forecasts, looking several hours ahead and calculated within a few minutes. All the essential characteristics that affect the passenger flow had to be considered. This means in addition to the 26 security check points, 8 boarding pass check points, 15 border control points, 90 stairways and elevators, 266 gates, 1 tunnel and 3 SkyLine stations, accurately modeling the passengers themselves. For their representation, a simple mathematical model, a trajectory model, and a, so-called, social force model, which considers the interaction between people, were implemented and compared for accuracy and performance.

The trajectory model as well as the social force model provided the required accuracy. However, the simulation speed of the trajectory model was about twice as quick. Since it took about five minutes to perform the simulation, the performance targets were met.

Since the summer of this year, the terminal management of the Fraport AG is successfully using the developed simulation model to optimize passenger flow. The simulation is run almost 300 times per day and about 15 GB of data is generated. With the help of the passenger flow management it was possible for 5.5 million passengers to pass through the airport, marking the most successful month in the history of the airport – without any problems.

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Simulation Start Screen (Source: Fraport AG)

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Passenger Flow Representation (Source: Fraport AG)

Passenger Flow Simulation at Frankfurt Airport.pdf (569.03 KB)

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