Chen Chu, Hengcai Zhang, Peixiao Wang, Feng Lu
DeepIndoorCrowd: Predicting crowd flow in indoor shopping malls with an interpretable transformer network
- General Earth and Planetary Sciences
Accurate and interpretable prediction of crowd flow would benefit business management and public security. The existing studies are challenged to adapt to the indoor environment due to its complex and dynamic spatial interaction patterns. In this study, we propose a crowd flow predicting method for indoor shopping malls, which simultaneously features temporal variables and semantic factors to suit the shopping mall environment. A deep learning model named DeepIndoorCrowd is presented. The model aims at capturing temporal dependencies and the semantic pattern in crowd flow to generate an accurate multi‐horizon prediction. With a multi‐term temporal dependency capturing structure, the model is effective in learning both daily and weekly patterns of the indoor crowd flow in a shopping mall and is able to provide the temporal interpretation of the prediction result. Moreover, a semantic‐temporal fusion module is introduced to utilize the semantic information of stores in prediction, which has proved to be effective in enhancing the model's ability to learn temporal patterns. Experiments were conducted on a real‐world dataset to verify the proposed approach. The ablation study demonstrates that the DeepIndoorCrowd can effectively improve the efficiency and accuracy of the prediction up to 18.7%. In addition, some interesting indoor crowd flow patterns were discovered by analyzing the model's interpretation of the prediction result. The proposed prediction method provides an intuitive way of modeling indoor crowd flow, and the experiment's outcome can help indoor managers better understand stores' flow traffic.