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Big Data to predict pedestrian comfort

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Big Data to predict pedestrian comfort ​and to improve urban planning ​on the “Place de la Nation"

The City of Paris has begun the renovation of seven large Parisian squares with the goal of reorienting their use in favor of pedestrians.


To make public space one of tranquility, to find balance in its various usages to foster increased use by pedestrians and slow vehicles, to emphasize green spaces; such are the ambitions of the City of Paris in their bid to create a city of goodwill, harmony and sustainability. The participation of its citizens is now, more than ever, at the very heart of the process of program implementation.




  • Use case

  • Data sets and experimentation field

  • Business opportunities

  • Results

Following on from COP21 and discussions about the Place de la Nation, a square located in Paris, Paris City Hall authorized the company Cisco to experiment with innovative systems to monitor pollution & noise levels, as well as the flow of pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles, cars and trucks etc. This precise data on the usage of the square will enable City Hall to implement an infrastructure project for Place de la Nation, in the spirit with which it is currently being used.

The field of experimentation will be located at the square on Place de la Nation in Paris. The partners involved in the program will have access to the several different data sets, including:

– APUR data on solar registry, Orthophoto mapping, layout etc.

– Cisco sensors installed at Place de la Nation. They will capture the flows of people, air quality, noise levels and user feedback via touch-screens…

The micro-local level and precision of the analysis of available data are ideal to carry out the type of experimentation whose methodology could be extrapolated for use in six other refurbishment projects on historically significant locations. These have already been identified by the City of Paris, namely the squares located on Place de la Bastille, Place des Fêtes, Place Gambetta, Place d’Italie, Place de la Madeleine and Place du Panthéon.


The increased priority in favor of pedestrians in public spaces and the discovery of a new urban identity through the remodeling of large areas both reflect a strong tendency seen in urban infrastructure, both in France and further afield. Above and beyond the framework of Place de la Nation and the other six locations mentioned earlier, the field of application is particularly wide-ranging.
The solutions identified thus far are potentially applicable elsewhere in other contexts and cities, perhaps in conjunction with DataCity and Cisco’s partners.



In the framework of this experiment, Qucit crossed 60 data sets​:


– Data coming from sensors installed on the “Place de la Nation” by Cisco (e.g. flow of automobiles, air quality, noise)

– Open data ​(e.g. weather, flow of cyclists using BikeShare)

– Data coming from a field quality survey​ (e.g. 1,400 persons surveyed on the “Place de la Nation”)




– Launch of a smartphone survey application, “Confort Paris”, that allows citizens to participate in the testing

– Identification of zones of stress, comfort, or perceived as reassuring on the “Place de la Nation” (e.g. the center of the square is the most comfortable place, even though there are eight traffic lanes to cross to get to it)

– Demonstration of the reproducibility of the solution​ at other public spaces in Paris, France or elsewhere in the world

– Creation of a predictive “confort index” for pedestrians, established following the experimentation crossing the quantitative and qualitative data




– The experiment has helped the City of Paris generate insights on how to improve the square and public spaces in general

– It also helped Cisco generate new solutions and products based on the significant amount of data generated by its sensors

– For Qucit​, the program boosted the company’s development, especially in terms of market positioning, technologies and internal organization​. Qucit is now in advanced discussions with French city councils including Bordeaux, major European cities and large transport companies ​to adapt these algorithms in order to simulate perceived comfort

Partner's Experts

Thierry Gruszka

Senior Technology Manager

Benjamin Favriau

Place de la Nation Expert
Paris City Council