Assessment of antenna characteristic effects on pedestrian and cyclists travel-time estimation based on Bluetooth and WiFi MAC addresses

N. Abedi, A. Bhaskar, Edward Chin Shin Chung, M. Miska

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.Monitoring pedestrian and cyclists movement is an important area of research in transport, crowd safety, urban design and human behaviour assessment areas. Media Access Control (MAC) address data has been recently used as potential information for extracting features from people's movement. MAC addresses are unique identifiers of WiFi and Bluetooth wireless technologies in smart electronics devices such as mobile phones, laptops and tablets. The unique number of each WiFi and Bluetooth MAC address can be captured and stored by MAC address scanners. MAC addresses data in fact allows for unannounced, non-participatory, and tracking of people. The use of MAC data for tracking people has been focused recently for applying in mass events, shopping centres, airports, train stations, etc. In terms of travel time estimation, setting up a scanner with a big value of antenna's gain is usually recommended for highways and main roads to track vehicle's movements, whereas big gains can have some drawbacks in case of pedestrian and cyclists. Pedestrian and cyclists mainly move in built distinctions and city pathways where there is significant noises from other fixed WiFi and Bluetooth. Big antenna's gains will cover wide areas that results in scanning more samples from pedestrians and cyclists' MAC device. However, anomalies (such fixed devices) may be captured that increase the complexity and processing time of data analysis. On the other hand, small gain antennas will have lesser anomalies in the data but at the cost of lower overall sample size of pedestrian and cyclist's data. This paper studies the effect of antenna characteristics on MAC address data in terms of travel-time estimation for pedestrians and cyclists. The results of the empirical case study compare the effects of small and big antenna gains in order to suggest optimal set up for increasing the accuracy of pedestrians and cyclists' travel-time estimation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-141
Number of pages18
JournalTransportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Antenna characteristics
  • Bluetooth MAC scanner
  • Cyclists
  • MAC address
  • Pedestrians
  • Transport
  • WiFi MAC scanner

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Computer Science Applications


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