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Smart City Data Show Barcelona Come Back To Life

Last August 17th 2017, Barcelona was victim of a tragic terrorism attack on La Rambla Street, leaving the city in choc and grief. Since then, Catalonia’s capital has proven that life has taken over fear, as shown by our Crowd Analytics, mirror of the city’s real-time occupation.


Evacuation crowd analytics

LBASense Crowd Analytics sensors have been deployed in Smart City Barcelona since over a year, among which several sensors in La Rambla, and in particular at Palau Moja (on La Rambla), at the Mobile World Centre, (in Catalonia Square, close to La Rambla), and at La Sagrada Familia (located in a district far from La Rambla).

Occurring on the very frequented street of La Rambla, at 16:50 local time, the attack against the crowd walking in the pedestrian zone was clearly detected by our system, showing a dramatic drop in the population’s counting at this exact moment, both at Palau Moja and at the Mobile World Centre (Figure 1 and 2), while not at the Sagrada Familia (Figure 3).

Figure 1: Screenshot from LBASense Dashboard Showing the Drop in the Visitors' Number on August 17th 2017 At Palau Moja in Barcelona

In fact, as our sensor at Palau Moja (Figure 1) is the one located the closest to La Rambla, its results show the most radical drop in the number of visitors. On the contrary, visitors present at la Sagrada Familia (Figure 3) may have been informed later of the events taking place in La Rambla and our sensor did not record any particular change at the time of the attack.

FIgure 2: Screenshot from LBASense Dashboard Showing the Drop in the Visitors' Number on August 17th 2017 At Mobile World Centre in Barcelona
Figure 3: Screenshot from LBASense Dashboard Showing the Visitors' Number on August 17th 2017 At La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

Crowd Analytics reflect a city’s inhabitants’ habits and behaviours. In this case, the LBASense sensors (Figure 1 and 2) have reported a clear and sudden reduction in the visitors’ number when people have fled Las Ramblas to take shelter in shops or close-by buildings.

Based on mobile phone signal detections, LBASense sensors can analyse in real-time the occupation of an area and signal the presence of people in a zone that should have been evacuated during an emergency, for example. As discussed during the Disaster Safety Industry forum in Busan, last May 2017, Crowd Analytics sensors and analytics can be powerful tools to plan and monitor large-scale evacuations.

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Barcelona Reconquered by its population

Smart City data, such as those provided by LBASense sensors also show that what makes a city is the people who live in it and occupy it every day.

Carrying banners reading “no tinc por” (“I’m not scared”), Barcelonans have demonstrated their wounds and pride in taking back their city to overcome the tragic events, by gathering in the streets and marching for peace, just as shown by Figure 4, on Saturday August 26th in La Rambla.

Figure 4: Screenshot from LBASense Dashboard Showing the Number of Visitors on August 26th 2017 in Barcelona

Starting at 18:00 local time at Passeig de Gràcia, the rally continued to La Rambla and ended on Catalonia Square later on. LBASense Crowd Analytics clearly show the peak hour of the demonstration being at 19.00 local time (Figure 4).


If you wish to find out more about the LBASense Situation Awareness for Large Scale Evacuations solution, contact us.


Data team

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