Scalable Detection of Crowd Motion Patterns

Stijn J. Heldens, Nelly Litvak, Maarten van Steen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
394 Downloads (Pure)


Studying the movements of crowds is important for understanding and predicting the behavior of large groups of people. When analyzing crowds, one is often interested in the long-term macro-level motions of the crowd as a whole, as opposed to the micro-level short-term movements of individuals. A high-level representation of these motions is thus desirable. In this work, we present a scalable method for detection of crowd motion patterns, i.e., spatial areas describing the dominant motions within crowds. For measuring crowd movements, we propose a fast, scalable, and low-cost method based on proximity graphs. For analyzing crowd movements, we utilize a three-stage pipeline: (1) represents the behavior of each person at each moment in time as a low-dimensional data point, (2) cluster these data points based on spatial relations, and (3) concatenate these clusters based on temporal relations. Experiments on synthetic datasets reveals our method can handle various scenarios including curved lanes and diverging flows. Evaluation on real-world datasets shows our method is able to extract useful motion patterns which could not be properly detected by existing methods. Overall, we see our work as an initial step towards rich pattern recognition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8519317
Pages (from-to)152-164
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE transactions on knowledge and data engineering
Issue number1
Early online date1 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Crowd Analytics
  • Pedestrian Dynamics
  • Spatio-Temporal Clustering
  • Trajectory Clustering
  • Proximity Graph


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