At the heart of many of the decisions that you make when managing public resources is knowing the number of people using a service or space. If you expect thousands everyday, you need to think about litter pickers, bin collections and coffee stands. With low usage, you will be thinking about weed killing and volunteers. Either way, it is essential that you build your decisions on facts rather than fiction.
Footfall is the generic phrase people use to cover "numbers of units". This can be people, cars, bikes, horses or a mix of them. The purpose of a footfall survey, whether it is full time or temporary, is to accurately identify the usage per hour and per day over the period of the survey.
The type of equipment that we use will depend on:
1. The assets being counted
2. The length of the survey
3. The physical width of the counting area
Radio Beams (RB)
Some authorities need information accurately every day, whether it is snowing, raining or blowing leaves everywhere. In these circumstances you will need Radio Beam Technology which is able to measure across wide gateways, cutting through the environmental factors, to bring you accurate data regardless of what is thrown at it.
RBs use the change in the radio waves as they pass through an object to identify what it has recorded. It can be set to identify people, bikes, horses and probably hedgehogs (though no one has ever asked).
RBs are mostly used in long term counting situations like coastal paths or cycle ways, where their long term robustness, accuracy and good battery life are best shown.
Passive Infra Red Sensors (PIR)
For less harsh environments, we use Passive Infra Red sensors. They have the distinct advantage of being more cost effective than RBs and are easily installed and moved by local staff. In doorways and gates, they are ideal and difficult to beat.
A PIR will detect a change in heat passing a location. This is used for outdoor counting of people or other objects in a relatively restricted location like a gateway or door, but can also be affected by extreme weather. The effective range is up to 5m.
Magnetometers & Pressure Mats
Magnetometers, which are basically a coil of electric wire under the ground, are accurate, but only really work within pinch points. It is possible to overcome this by fitting several magnetometers across a bike path but costs build and accuracy drops as the width increases. There is potentially a higher cost in the installation of these as they are fitted below ground. Exactly the same can be said for Pressure Mats.
RBs cost from £2,300 to install, PIRs from £1,200 and magnetometers and pressure mats will cost roughly £1,500. This cost always includes a 12 month period of live data feed and the warranty.
Healthmatic do a high number of temporary surveys with periods typically of 3 - 6 months. This will normally be using PIRs and cost from £500 per device, including installation and removal.
Please email us or call us on 01249 822063 for further information.