Video Surveillance technology implementation in public transportation facilities has increased in recent times and that’s due to the fact that the technology presence helps in deterring crime and helps in providing video evidence under crucial circumstances. Axis communications in association with UITP, conducted a survey among public transport organizations to get an understanding of the various aspects of video surveillance in public transportation, particularly for security. The survey was conducted between April and September 2015.
The responders who participated in the survey are public transport operators, some public transport authorities and a small number of infrastructure owner/managers or separate station owners.
Almost all the responders reported that they have installed surveillance equipment like analog or network IP cameras in the vehicles meant for transit. Among those, about two thirds of respondents reported that they have network/IP cameras as part of their surveillance systems and a little number of them admitted that they have hybrid surveillance systems, consisting a mix of analog and IP in place. And a quarter of them admitted that they still rely on analog cameras.
Although, most of the responders admitted that funding was hindering new technology adoption, 74.3 percent of responders have investment plans for new surveillance systems in 2016. Of those 85.3 percent of them said that they are going for IP camera installations, all due to the long term benefits they offer.
As per the survey, cameras are currently being installed in all parts of public transport systems like stations, depots and rail yards. Video Footage from these deployments is either being recorded, viewed in real-time or both. The majority of recordings from stations will be from public areas such as public station areas and platforms, areas where large number of people gather. Depots and rail yards also need live monitoring, due to the fact that large number valuable assets are stored or available on-premises.
Legal limitations of video surveillance vary from region to region. While the presence of surveillance is getting support from all corners of populace, the way the video is being stored and retained for a specific period of time is becoming a hot topic of discussion. As per the laws prevailing in most of the states in US, the storage/retention time ranges from 48 hours to 100 days.
Using sound input with surveillance is an effective addition during incidents and can add additional evidence material. At the same time, it sometimes considered more invasive of personal integrity. Sound input is permitted for about two thirds of responders, with no limitations for 12.5 percent of those. However, for the vast majority, there are legal regulations in terms of usage: storage and retention time (40.7 percent), certain areas only (17.5 percent) and police usage only (7.5 percent). For approximately a third, sound input is not allowed at all.
Furthermore, when video evidence is being presented in court, the quality of the material is important. For 66.7 percent of responders the quality of video to get valid evidence in court is regulated in some way, mainly either by law or by police directives. This gives assurance to the public transport organization that video can be used as evidence. And coming to the quality of video evidence, different standards exist in different parts of the world. Local regulations on quality of image and/or sound for court use are widespread and very helpful in maximizing the added value of surveillance systems. Regulations are also in place to protect the privacy of citizens and staff and this is essential in many cultures for such systems to be accepted.
All this suggests that the presence of video surveillance in public transport will increase actual and perceived security and will help in minimizing, deterring and managing various types of criminalities such as suicides, injuries, accidents, including disproving false claims.