3 ways transit agencies improve passenger safety

July 30, 2018

According to a report titled ‘A Global High Shift Scenario’ by the University of California and the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), ditching cars for buses, bikes, or walking in cities can reduce pollution by 40 percent by 2050 and save $100 trillion in public and private spending. The report also indicates that cleaning up the traffic jams in the world’s cities offers the ‘least pain and the most gain’ to become greener. Now if there is so much to gain from it, why don’t more cities get on board with promoting public transportation?

Increasing ridership today is challenging.

Believe it or not, many people refuse to use public transportation. The growing convenience of ride-share apps and heightened concerns of terrorist threats can dissuade potential passengers from mass transit options. Whether traveling to work on a Monday morning or to a concert on a Saturday afternoon, city dwellers want to know their journey will be uninterrupted and easy. More than that, they want to know that they will be safe.

It’s why many mass transit agencies today, including the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and the County of Lackawanna Transit System (COLTS), are using the latest security technology to enhance passenger safety in terminals, depots, and fleets. Here’s how:

1.They unify their security systems to speed up response

Mass transit agencies are using many different technologies to secure their operations. Today, operators are managing everything from video surveillance and access control to metal detectors and perimeter detection systems. With all these new sensors, a vast amount of information is streaming into control rooms and operators need to remain efficient. It’s the reason why many cities are merging disjointed technologies into a unified security platform. Through a single pane of glass, operators can access data from many different systems. All alarms are synched to video so operators can quickly make decisions in response to whatever is happening.

2.They federate video systems to enhance collaboration

As more cities expand their network infrastructure, public and private entities are upgrading legacy analog video surveillance technology to IP. These new systems provide greater connectivity and access to new capabilities which foster collaboration. It’s why many mass transit agencies are adding more cameras and expanding video monitoring from terminals and maintenance facilities to onboard buses and trains. They are also securely sharing video with law enforcement, dispatchers, and first responders. So, whether it’s securing a major city event or handling an unplanned incident, everyone involved can see what is happening and if required, coordinate the fastest and most effective response to any situation.

3.They use video analytics to detect safety concerns

Some terminals, storage sites, and maintenance depots span city blocks. This alone makes it difficult for operators to spot potential threats or safety hazards. It’s why many mass transit agencies are unifying video analytics within their security platform. Perimeter or cross-line detection analytics can detect if someone unlawfully enters a bus depot. Video analytics can also alert operators to suspect bags lying around in a terminal or when someone gets too close to the edge of a subway and train platform. Other agencies use analytics to collect data about terminal usage or passenger movement, which can lead to future service improvements. And now more than ever, agencies are considering privacy masking analytics that blur people’s identities as a step to becoming compliant with new data protection regulations.

Getting on board with the latest mass transit security technologies.

To get more people on board trains, buses, and subways, mass transit agencies must ensure commuters have a strong sense of safety as they wait in terminals and board fleets. That starts with choosing the right security platform. From there, agencies can add new technologies which will continue to bolster security and passenger safety.

Find out more about how other transit organizations are keeping people safe every day by visiting our trains and transit webpage

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