Heathrow Terminal 5 to use tech to cut taxi queues

BAA is extending the use of an innovative taxi management system, which makes use of RFID technology, in anticipation of future demand for four-wheeled transportation elsewhere once passengers have landed at Heathrow's Terminal 5 when it opens for business in March next year.

The technology, created by Steria, is already in use at Heathrow's existing terminals and copes with more than 60 transactions a minute through 95 interfaces. Coupled with the new 4.3 million Terminal 5 development, more than a million taxi movements are expected by the time the London 2012 Olympics commences.

The aim of the technology's extension into the new terminal is to reduce waiting times by more effectively managing and tracking taxi movements. This is achieved by using handheld devices to monitor taxis equipped with RFID tags that identify both the vehicle and its driver.

This data is transmitted back to the system's headquarters via a wireless network. In addition, taxi management agents can communicate with each other using handhelds to help cope with unplanned factors that might adversely affect how quickly vehicles are dispatched.

"Steria's solution has provided great benefits in the two years that it has been implemented. The system can respond to real time variations in demand, is faster, fairer and can significantly improve taxi flow around the airport," said Izaura Padrao, BAA General Manager at Heathrow's commercial transport division

"Terminal 5 is an extremely important development for BAA, therefore we selected a supplier who we could trust in delivering a complex integration project that ensured high quality of service to our customers, both passengers and taxis. We are pleased to see that the project is ahead of schedule and on budget, which is not always the case for multifaceted projects of this type."

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.