Blimp – Artificial intelligence
to read and interpret the city

From November 2020 to June 2021, the Blimp team carried out
a continuous analysis of pedestrian and vehicle flows in the Milan Metropolitan Area.

The objective: to observe the impact of measures to contain contagion
on the movements of citizens in the Lombard capital.

Alex Buzzetti
Co-Founder and General Manager of Blimp


Through more than three hundred Head-Counter sensors positioned in some of the key points of the Milan Metropolitan Area, over the last nine months we have monitored pedestrian and vehicle traffic in the city. The objective? To measure, on an ongoing basis, the impact of the reinforcement (and subsequent relaxation) of the various anti-congestion measures on the movement of citizens.

Our sensors detect the flows of pedestrians and vehicles in public spaces. They measure in real time the number of passers-by in a street or square, including their gender and age, and do so anonymously (privacy is one of our company’s core values). They also distinguish all types of vehicles, from heavy to light vehicles, including scooters and bicycles.

Now that the limits on travel in Milan have been lifted, we can take a critical look at how the citizens’ behaviour and habits have evolved during one of the most complex years in our recent history.

The analysis conducted from November 2020 to June 2021 in the Milan Metropolitan Area found:

  • Changes in vehicular traffic at the entrance and exit of the city’s main roads.
  • Changes in pedestrian traffic in the city centre, nightlife areas and residential districts.
  • Effects of the restrictions on weekly habits at different times of the day.

From the analysis of our data, it emerged first of all how effective the various policies to contain infection were.


According to the figures, only the creation of a Red Zone (and curfew) was able to halve travel and thus reduce risk factors. The Yellow Zone and Orange Zone had very little impact on volumes of pedestrian or vehicle traffic. On the contrary, during the transition to these two zones, we recorded an average increase in traffic of 150%.


Looking at data from a year ago, travel restrictions and limits had a significant impact on pedestrian traffic in the city centre (an average of -59% compared to the three months prior to the March 2020 pandemic).



With the return to the Orange Zone on 11 April 2021, citizens finally started to populate the centre again and, within weeks, foot traffic doubled to pre-pandemic levels. Now, with the transition to the White Zone and the cancellation of the curfew, the city is regaining its rhythms, including those related to nightlife in the nightlife areas.



On the other hand, if we look at the trend in vehicle traffic in the city centre, we can see that there has been no particular decrease over the last eight months. On the contrary, if we compare the data from the three months before the pandemic with the data from a year later, we see an average increase of 11% in vehicle traffic.


There are several reasons for this: the removal of Area C, which in Milan, under normal conditions, delimits the historic centre and prevents access to certain types of vehicle; the reduction in parking costs; and an increase in the use of owned vehicles as opposed to public ones.


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