Case Study: How Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) is helping optimise the flow of visitors in one of Austria’s most important tourist attractions

AIT is working to improve the visitor experience at the stunning Schönbrunn Palace


SIMULATION makes it possible to adjust the range of tours on offer while at the same
time boosting visitor satisfaction, security and capacity utilisation.

Boasting over 2.7 million visitors a year, Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Austria. Where the palace was once intended to house the imperial family and its court, today the 40 magnificent rooms dating back to the Habsburg era draw up to 10,000 visitors a day. As it may be assumed that the interest of visitors is bound to rise, it is of key importance not to delay but to implement an intelligent, targeted and sustainable visitor management system now, in order to ensure the future satisfaction and security of guests.

With the specially-adapted version of its Solutions for Analysis and Optimization of Pedestrian Flows, experts at the AIT (Austrian Institute of Technology) convinced the jury
within the framework of an ideas competition held by the IÖB innovation partnership. The
detailed capture and simulation of the flow of visitors will enable the calculation of valid data  concerning the distribution of visitors in the palace, which in turn will serve as the basis for optimising tour planning.

Greater visitor satisfaction thanks to digitisation: Solution concept according to the “Sense-Plan-Act-Paradigm” The overall solution “Sense-Plan-Act-Paradigm” proposed by the researchers at the AIT Center for Mobility Systems meets the desired requirements perfectly thus providing an ideal tool for sustainably boosting efficiency and visitor satisfaction.

• Sense stands for the capture of the movements and distribution of visitors in the
palace, including waiting times, the length of time spent in the individual rooms and
the complete duration of tours. Sense provides the basis for further planning and

• Plan: Ideas are tried out here by means of simulation and the effects of different
guidance and intervention measures or alternative tour planning are analysed for
different capacity utilisation rates. This enables the efficient development of both
suitable short-term measures – for allowing a response to situations that arise in the
near-term – as well as long-term strategies.

• Act: Identified measures are implemented and employees prepared and trained

“Sense-Plan-Act” functions as a cycle, with which the dynamic challenges of visitor
management can be addressed iteratively.

Klaus Panholzer, the Managing Director of SKB, emphasises the importance of an
appropriate visitor flow management, saying: “As a UNESCO World Heritage Site it is especially important for the Schönbrunn Palace to offer our visitors a high-value experience while at the  same time ensuring the greatest possible protection of the historical substance.

“An intelligent visitor flow management system also allows us to plan tours in a more targeted and diverse manner.”

Arno Klamminger, Head of Center for Mobility Systems at AIT, said: “The optimisation and
analysis of pedestrian flows in urban areas constitutes a major challenge. The AIT offers
tailor-made scalable solutions for the simulation, analysis and planning of complex
pedestrian flows in railway stations, public transport, airports, shopping malls, stadiums or
event venues. The scientifically recognised methods used are the result of many years of
research in this field.”

Visit AIT for more information.

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