Trolley Tracking With RFID Technology

RFiD Discovery's Trolley Tracking System improves the management of luggage and shopping trolleys in travel and retail environments.

airport trolleys lined up at airport

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Providing trolleys in the right place at the right time can significantly enhance customer experience


Airports are doing what they can to attract more passengers through their gates. The more passengers that pass through an airport, the greater the airport's revenue. Many factors will affect an individual's choice of airport, one of which will be the overall customer experience and the availability of trolleys is seen by many as a good indicator of how well an airport is taking care of them. 

RFiD Discovery is a low-cost, high impact solution to support the Trolley Management Team, ensuring trolley availability across the airport estate. Fitting trolleys with an RFiD Discovery system supports the efficient management of trolleys by monitoring the build-up, dispersal, and flow of trolleys around the retail area or airport to provide a live view of trolley availability and real-time alerts of trolley shortages.

By highlighting areas where trolleys are left, it supports efficient retrieval or redistribution. The system also delivers valuable data about customer movements by recording the total time spent in-store or in a particular area, for example queuing at the till.

In addition, individually identifying trolleys enables organisations to build a history of utilisation including the number of trips or approximate distance travelled and detect any under or over usage of particular carts. It also helps determine whether there are too many trolleys and if the pool size can be reduced.


How does trolley tracking work?


Each trolley is fitted with a passive RFID tag, discretely placed so that it is protected from trolley contents and users remain unaware of it. The tags do not have batteries and do not need to be maintained


RFID antennas are installed at trolley collection points and other areas where they tend to be left as well as significant gateways such as entrance doors


Information collected by the readers is sent back to the central RFiD Discovery database which can be interfaced with other systems to create alerts or provide data for analysis



shopping trolley in supermarket

Benefits of trolley tracking

Optimises utilisation of trolleys 
Accurate monitoring of the performance of trolley service contractors
Builds a maintenance history for each trolley
• Trolley pool size can be monitored to allow a reduction in trolley capitalization and associated maintenance costs
• Faster trolley collection as the trolleys will be redistributed quicker to areas that are understocked

Pilot project to track trolleys at Heathrow

RFiD Discovery has successfully completed a three-month pilot project to track the movements of luggage trolleys at Heathrow Airport to improve trolley management and demand forecasting.

At the heart of the project was the monitoring of trolley movements into and out of the baggage reclaim area at the airport’s terminal 4. Having established that the solution provides the desired data, Heathrow is now looking at how to roll out the solution across its terminals.

For the pilot project, each of the approximately 2,000 trolleys at terminal 4 was fitted with a passive RFID label, placed so that it was protected from trolley contents and users remained unaware of it. RFID readers were installed at all entrances and exits to the baggage reclaim area to detect if any trolleys are entering the area or leaving it.

"Providing trolleys in the right place at the right time can significantly enhance passenger experience. The data collected by the system will enable our forecasting teams to improve modelling tools, so the replenishment process can be planned more effectively. In addition, live data of stock levels will warn the trolley management teams if trolley numbers in key areas are getting low."
Ben Wagenaar, Innovation Technologist at Heathrow


RFiD Discovery Healthcare Trolley brochure


Tracking Airports Trolleys with RFID Brochure

Download the information sheet to find out more about how RFiD Discovery can support airport trolley tracking. Click here to view the PDF.





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