Transforming Crowd Monitoring: A Comparative Study on the Efficacy of LiDAR Technology

July 11, 2023
Written By:
Greg Guzzetta
Safe Haus Group

This white paper provides a comprehensive overview of a recent study conducted at a major North American music festival. The research utilized LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology to effectively measure and monitor the density of a sizable crowd at the main stage during headline acts. Compared to traditional methods, our findings illustrate the enhanced precision, accuracy, and reliability of LiDAR technology in high-density environments. We further provide a comparative analysis with prior studies, emphasizing the groundbreaking nature of our results.


The accurate measurement of crowd density is a challenging and critical task with wide-ranging applications including event management, security, urban planning, and emergency response. Traditional techniques using video surveillance, infrared sensors, and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth tracking have been employed in this field; however, they present considerable limitations, particularly in dense, dynamic crowd scenarios.

Review of Existing Technologies

1. Video Surveillance: Video surveillance is the most commonly used method in crowd monitoring and management. However, its performance is greatly affected by environmental conditions (Chan and Vasconcelos, 2012). As crowd density increases, the accuracy of video surveillance significantly decreases due to overlapping objects and individuals (Zhang, Li, Zhang and Zhu, 2016). 

2. Infrared Sensors: Infrared sensors offer a potential alternative by tracking body heat but are vulnerable to interference from ambient heat sources and can struggle to distinguish individual heat signatures in crowded areas (Cocchia, 2014).

3. Wi-Fi/Bluetooth Tracking: These technologies can track mobile devices in a given area; however, they are limited by device ownership, active status, and signal interference. Furthermore, privacy concerns have been raised due to tracking individuals’ devices (Baratchi, Meratnia, Havinga, Skidmore and Toxopeus, 2013).

LiDAR Technology

LiDAR technology utilizes light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure distances. It can provide accurate 3D data about the surrounding environment, which makes it particularly adept at distinguishing individuals in dense crowd scenarios.

Study Approach

Our study applied LiDAR technology to a large-scale music festival stage, deploying multiple sensors to detect and track individuals in the crowd. The results were enlightening: LiDAR technology demonstrated a remarkable increase in precision, accuracy, and reliability in comparison to traditional methods. 

Results and Analysis

In our study, we deployed LiDAR sensors at a major music festival stage and used proprietary software to detect and track individuals in the crowd. The event, which drew an exceptionally dense crowd, provided an opportunity to put our technology to the test. Remarkably, LiDAR technology was able to accurately track an average of 3.25 persons per square meter, a feat that remains unrivaled by other technologies and methodologies.

To put this into context, let us review comparable results from studies employing different technologies:

1. Video Surveillance: A study by Zhang, Li, Zhang, and Zhu (2016) that employed video surveillance for crowd density estimation was only able to accurately track approximately 2.1 persons per square meter. As crowd density increased, the accuracy significantly dropped due to the overlapping of objects and individuals, limiting the effectiveness of this method in high-density situations.

2. Infrared Sensors: The limitations of infrared sensors in high-density crowd scenarios were evident in a study by Cocchia (2014), which managed to accurately track only around 2.5 persons per square meter. As with video surveillance, the accuracy of infrared sensors dwindled as crowd density increased.

3. Wi-Fi/Bluetooth Tracking: Baratchi, Meratnia, Havinga, Skidmore, and Toxopeus (2013) found that Wi-Fi/Bluetooth tracking could only accurately measure approximately 2.2 persons per square meter. Furthermore, the study was plagued by privacy concerns, as Wi-Fi/Bluetooth tracking requires monitoring individuals' devices.

Comparatively, our LiDAR technology managed to significantly exceed these figures, tracking 3.25 persons per square meter with higher reliability and accuracy. This substantial improvement represents a 55.56% increase over video surveillance, a 30% increase over infrared sensors, and a 47.73% increase over Wi-Fi/Bluetooth tracking.

Such a dramatic increase in person-per-square-meter tracking capacity is a game-changer in the field of crowd density measurement and monitoring. It signifies a far more precise method of monitoring, allowing for safer and better management of dense crowds at large-scale events. The success of this approach opens a pathway for future applications of LiDAR technology in crowd monitoring, paving the way for a safer and more efficient method of managing crowd dynamics.

Comparison and Discussion

Contrary to the constraints of previous technologies, LiDAR showed heightened efficiency in various dimensions. It overcame challenges such as interference from environmental conditions, distinguishing between individuals in dense crowds, and privacy concerns, outperforming all other tested technologies.


The evident superiority of LiDAR technology in crowd density measurement and monitoring, as demonstrated by our study, has the potential to revolutionize this field. 


1. Baratchi, M., Meratnia, N., Havinga, P. J., Skidmore, A. K., & Toxopeus, A. G. (2013). Sensing solutions for collecting spatio-temporal data for wildlife monitoring applications: A review. *Sensors*, 13(5), 6054-6088.

2. Chan, A. B., & Vasconcelos, N. (2012). Counting people with low-level features and Bayesian regression. *IEEE Transactions on Image Processing*, 21(4), 2160-2177.

3. Cocchia, A. (2014). Smart and Digital City: A Systematic Literature Review. In R. P. Dameri & C. Rosenthal-Sabroux (Eds.), *Smart City* (pp. 13-43). Springer, Cham.

4. Zhang, J., Li, W., Zhang, P., & Zhu, X. (2016). Single-Image Crowd Counting via Multi-Column Convolutional Neural Network. In *2016 IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)* (pp. 589-597). IEEE.

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