Public transportation security authorities are not unfamiliar with security and surveillance systems. Rider safety is paramount, and in recent years, transit authorities have been taking large strides in beefing up their digital security presence for increased security. The latest development in this comes in the San Francisco Bay Area, where Bay Area Rapid Transit – commonly referred to as BART – has decided to install new, comprehensive digital video surveillance network with video analytics to overhaul public safety.
IP Video Surveillance and Video Analytics
BART already deploys security cameras in their train cars and stations, but most of them are currently outdated, analog devices with low resolutions, grainy footage and clunky software and video storage. The new system would see all 4,000 analog cameras upgraded to a new digital platform, with Full HD cameras for higher resolution and clearer images, as well much faster speeds and better storage.
In addition, the new IP cameras will all feature server-end analytics, similar to those found in retail security systems. Analytic software analyzing and tracking rider behavior and observing for suspicious activity and emergency incidents. Some examples of behavior that analytics systems might track include gait, dwell time (how long people stay in one area) or line crossing. When emergencies and unsavory behavior do occur, automatic notifications will alert public transportation security employees and police, who can respond much faster and proactively then before.
If necessary, the thousands of hours of surveillance footage stored on the server can later be searched and combed through for certain markers. For example, video analytics can identify people by color of clothing, style, walking gait or even by an object in their hand. Equipped with higher resolution cameras (usually above 3MP), analytics software can even use advanced features like facial recognition, and track tagged individuals. They can also create heat maps from stored footage.
Additional Public Transportation Security Measures
To further increase security and ensure riders of their safety, BART is also proposing to install large monitors with live video feeds at station entrances, reminding people that surveillance is being conducted, assuaging fears from uncomfortable passengers and acting as an effective deterrent against attempted crimes. Other physical security measures include installing additional call boxe at every station, newer, brighter lighting, and
These new upgrades come in addition to some of the other security systems BART has implemented in recent years, such as automatic license plate readers (ALPRS) at stations to identify stolen or wanted vehicles, and a smartphone app for reporting unruly and dangerous behavior to BART police.
Nationwide Improvements In Security
With these additions, BART joins other cities’ and states’ transit authorities in upgrading and overhauling to the latest in public transsecurity technology. Denver, Colorado’s Regional Transit District, for example, has in recent years rolled out a comprehensive video security system, and has encouraged riders to download their app for reporting suspicious and undesirable behavior from other passengers, with integrated GPS pinpointing and the ability to send photos and video of the incidents. Likewise, the MBTA in Boston has taken video surveillance and storage a step further, implementing 4k cameras with both LTE and Wi-Fi for wireless remote access and video offloading, for more efficient storage and viewing.
These are just a handful of ways that transit authorities are taking steps to increase their rider safety. Over the next few years, expect to see video analytics software and 4k UHD security cameras rolled out in other cities, as transit systems across the country seek to further improve their rider experience.