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Crowd monitoring sensor types – RFID tags and sensors

The CityFlows CM-DSS will test the use of RFID tags and sensors. This system works as follows. At a given location a pedestrian is handed a RFID tag, which looks like a carton card, a small plastic box or a wearable. These pedestrians are asked to go about their business while carrying the RFID tag for a certain period of time. During this period, strategically placed RFID sensors can sense the presence of the RFID tag whenever it is in its vicinity. The time stamps and identifier information of the comprehensive RFID sensor network can be used to track the movements of the pedestrians that walk around with a tag. Whenever the pedestrian does not want to be tracked anymore, it throws away the RFID tag, after which the RFID sensors cannot track the movements of the person. 

One main advantage of the tracking of RFID tags over the tracking of Wi-Fi enabled devices is that the person who carries the tag has the ownership of its own movement data. The person has to accept the tag, can choose when to carry it around and also choose when to throw it away. Consequently, only willing pedestrians provide the information they want to provide and unwilling pedestrians cannot be tracked.