Predicting footfall at new venues

  • May 29, 2018
Predicting footfall at new venues

Krittika D'Silva leads research using Foursquare which can be used to predict the success rate of new venues.

Harnessing a city's dynamic properties could inform future urban policy as it provides valuable insight into how neighbourhoods change with time.

Krittika D'Silva

How can new urban venues better predict their chances of success?

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have used the Foursquare platform to look at footfall in localised areas at particular times of day in order to better predict the success rate of new venues.The aim is to help new businesses have a better idea of the staffing and other resources they might need.

The research has just been published in EPJ Data Science.

In the past, start-ups have tried to predict numbers of customers by, for example, observing the numbers in local venues or venues at similar places.

The researchers, led by Gates Cambridge Scholar Krittika D'Silva [2016], used mobility data from Foursquare. The app provides personalised recommendations of places to go to near a user's current location based on users' previous browsing history or purchases.

Focusing on London, they looked at venue categories instead of urban activities and analysed how they became popular over time in order to create a framework which can predict how popular a venue might be on a weekly basis and a month after opening. The framework combines information from similar neighbourhoods and footfall at particular times of day.

By comparing areas of the city which have similar footfall patterns they were able to predict visitor numbers with 41% greater accuracy than if random comparisons of areas had been done.

Krittika [pictured], who is doing a PhD in Computer Science, says: "Our paper describes the idea of neighbourhood synchronicity across a city. Harnessing a city's dynamic properties could inform future urban policy as it provides valuable insight into how neighbourhoods change with time."

Krittika D'Silva

Krittika D'Silva

  • Alumni
  • Canada
  • 2016 PhD Computer Science
  • Jesus College

As an undergraduate at the University of Washington, I majored in Bioengineering and Computer Engineering. I worked in three research labs building technology for individuals with lower limb amputations, mobile software for low resource settings, and DNA molecules for long-term data storage. I believe phones can be a valuable tool for change and I look forward to continuing research in mobile systems at Cambridge.

Previous Education

University of Washington

Latest News

Knowledge gap on zoonotic disease transmission highlighted

The impact of climate change on migration patterns, particularly in areas which depend on agriculture and livestock, could affect zoonotic disease transmission yet little research has been done to date. A new study, led by Gates Cambridge Scholar and Veterinary Science PhD student Dorien Braam [2018], looks at the research that currently exists, but calls […]

Addressing climate change in words and action

A Gates Cambridge Scholar has called for the US federal government to establish a national, robust and legally binding net-zero target that emphasises comprehensiveness, equity and clarity on the role of offsets.  In an opinion piece in Arizona Republic, Stephen Lezak and his co-authors, including Kate Gallego, the mayor of Phoenix, Arizona, which has done […]

Gates Cambridge mentors: forging bonds and giving back

The Gates Cambridge Scholars Council has been running a mentoring programme since 2018 as part of an effort to bring alumni and scholars closer together, build a stronger sense of community and to give mentors a chance to give back. This year has seen a big increase in the number of mentors coming forward, with […]

Scholar joins COP26 net-zero initiative

A Gates Cambridge Scholar has been appointed as a climate change consultant on a new consortium working on a net-zero vision for the world ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference [COP26] in November. Ramit Debnath will be working on designing the India net-zero profile chapter of the vision along with in-country experts. The international […]