Friday, February 26, 2010

All Madison Metro Transit Buses to Have Cameras

Metro Transit is set to finish installing surveillance cameras on all 203 of its buses by mid-March, something officials say has improved safety both on and near buses.
The agency, police and school officials are crediting more cameras with a reduction in fights and other incidents on buses last year. Madison police also say they are using video footage from bus cameras to solve crimes.
Metro Transit began compiling data on incidents in 2008 and last year's data show there were 565 incidents on all buses, 103 fewer than in 2008, a 15.4 percent decline. Fights were down from 84 incidents in 2008 to 39 incidents in 2009, a 53 percent decline.
"We definitely have been seeing some slow but incremental changes in bus safety that are long overdue," said Madison Police Capt. Joe Balles.
Balles said Madison police are requesting video footage almost every week to deal with incidents on buses or to find additional evidence if a crime was committed near a bus route. In one case, video was used to identify a robbery suspect whom the victim said followed him off of a bus.
Police haven't tracked the number of times video evidence has led to an arrest, though Metro Transit said police requested about 60 video clips last year. Footage from the five cameras on each bus is kept for 10 to 14 days, unless someone asks for the footage to be reviewed, in which case it is kept on file indefinitely.
Cameras a safety measure
When Metro Transit began installing cameras on its buses in 2006, Madison city and school officials were getting an earful about safety problems.
Fights, vulgar language and rowdiness on Metro buses carrying middle and high school students were causing parents concern. In one incident, a bus driver was beaten by four teenagers after he asked them to stop swearing and rough-housing.
There were 49 buses equipped with cameras in 2008 and 174 had cameras by the end of 2009.
Data from those two years show that on school bus routes, there were almost half as many fights in 2009, but an increase in disruptive behavior and vulgar language incidents.
Overall there were 201 incidents on Metro buses transporting students in 2009, 16 fewer than in 2008, a 7 percent decline.
Madison School District safety coordinator Luis Yudice said the increase in disruptive behavior is an indication that Metro bus drivers are now more likely to file incident reports because they know that school and police officials are following up on them.
School, police, city and bus officials have been meeting regularly for the last two years to coordinate information and strategies for improving bus safety. As part of the new focus on safety, bus drivers have been trained to report incidents - such as fights, thrown objects, vulgar language, fare disputes, smoking, theft, vandalism and weapons brought aboard - and Metro has begun tracking the number of incidents each month.
Students have been difficult to discipline in the past because state law doesn't allow the school district to suspend or expel students who misbehave off of school grounds, Yudice said. Now Metro officials are showing video footage to school officials, who are identifying students and reporting them to their parents, or in a few instances, to police.
Metro spokesman Mick Rusch said the cameras are also a training tool and can be used to verify complaints against drivers. He said Metro has not tracked the number of times video has been used in such cases.
For about the last year, Metro has used the recordings to evaluate new drivers at the end of their six-month probationary period, he said. The video is also used when part-time drivers are promoted to full-time drivers, he said.
But Metro doesn't regularly use the videos to conduct ongoing performance reviews, Rusch said.
In 2007, a driver was fired and charged with disorderly conduct after he sped off with a passenger, who had urinated on the bus, clinging to the outside. The episode was caught on video and showed the driver had not followed agency policy, Metro officials said.
Videos are also used to verify incidents where passengers say they slipped and fell and to monitor if certain bus routes are so full that passengers have to wait for multiple buses, Rusch said.

Bus Video Surveillance Shows MBTA Incidents

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Maryland Debates Use of School Bus Stop Arm Cameras

ANNAPOLIS -- Six of Frederick County's eight state lawmakers are signing on to a proposal allowing school systems statewide to use school bus cameras.
The cameras are intended to catch drivers who pass stopped school buses loading and unloading students.
The delegation decided this month not to seek the cameras just in Frederick County, as had been requested by the county's public schools.
Delegate Paul Stull and Sen. David Brinkley, both Frederick County Republicans, decided to introduce the bill statewide instead.
"I don't have any forgiveness for anybody that runs past a school bus with lights flashing," Brinkley said.
The only two state lawmakers from Frederick who are not sponsors on the bills are Delegate Joseph Bartlett and Sen. Alex Mooney, both Republicans.
Bartlett said he does not see a distinction between the bus cameras and cameras that catch drivers running red lights or speeding. He opposed both those camera programs when the state was considering them.
"I've been railing against speed cameras and red-light cameras, and then I'm going to cosponsor another type of camera?" Bartlett said. "That doesn't make a lot of sense."
Brinkley also opposed those cameras, but said he thinks school bus cameras are different. With red-light cameras, he thought their primary purpose was revenue generation and not public safety.
In this case, school officials said they do not want any of the proceeds of the fines. They are concerned about a rising number of vehicles passing buses and the danger that poses to schoolchildren.
Brinkley said passing a school bus is a serious transgression, and he would like even more serious penalties than those in his bill.
The bill calls for a fine of $100; he said he'd like that raised to $500. He also thinks the law should compel the operator, or the owner, of the vehicle to appear in court.
Stull said he does not think red light cameras and school bus cameras are the same thing. There is a demonstrated need in Frederick County for school bus cameras, he said.
"Too many people are passing buses with the red lights on," Stull said. "We ought to really be looking to slow them down or change their habits."
The Maryland House of Delegates Environmental Matters Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the school bus camera bill at 2 p.m. March 9 in the House Office Building, 6 Bladen St.
To contact the committee staff, call 410-841-3990.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Security Cams Make Debut in New York MTA

Smile straphangers -- you're on candid camera!
Four cars of an E train equipped with state-of-the-art security cameras made its unprecedented first run this morning, part of an aggressive anti-terror and crime initiative that the MTA could expand to every line in the subway system.
Riders in the super-secure cars will see a sticker that reads: "Notice: This train may be equipped with a video recording device."
The train will make four runs today -- from Jamaica Center to the World Trade Center --two in the morning hours and two in the afternoon.
The cameras won't be watched live, but will be digitally taped and stored and used in investigations and criminal prosecutions.
Also installed in the same cars are "fold-up" subway seats, which transit officials may use in the future to squeeze 18 percent more riders into subway cars during rush hour.
Vertical bars on those cars will be closer to the windows, instead of pushed toward the center. Also, metal grasps -- hearkening back to the hanging straps -- will be placed on the cross-bar above the seats.
There's no timeline when the seats will be "unlocked" and put into use.
As for the cameras, transit officials said alerting riders to their mere presence can reduce crime and aid in fighting terror.
"Video camera systems have clearly been shown to help deter criminal activity on transit vehicles," said new subway and bus chief Thomas Prendergast.
He added that the cameras are invaluable when it comes to investigating the "potential threat of terrorist activity" on the subway.
If a straphanger is assaulted -- heaven forbid -- he or she can report the incident to the NYPD and police can then use the video feed in the investigation.
Each car will be equipped with four cameras, for a total of 16. The system was manufactured and installed by California-based TOA Corp. with little to no cost to the MTA.
"The cameras will be conspicuously installed in the train," said a NYCT source. "It'll provide us with forensic evidence."
There will be a 12-month evaluation process, and then a final decision on their use will be made in 2011.
Officials will look at video quality and after "evaluation of the system, NYC Transit may consider implementing the closed-circuit television system throughout the subway fleet," said Steven Feil, senior vice president for the department of subways.
Straphangers welcomed the watchful eye, saying criminals were less likely to strike if they know they're being recorded.
"It'll protect people. It'll bring down a lot of unwanted activities on the train," said Donald Terrell, 48, from Harlem.
"A lot of people in New York see something but they don't say anything," he added.
Several female riders said the cameras will give them peace of mind during late-night commutes.
"There are a lot of perverts out there, and if cops aren't around now you'll be able to say "run the tape!" said Nicole Davis, 34, a Bronx school bus driver.
MTA board member Norman Seabrook, who chairs the safety and security committee, said he was concerned about people "vandalizing" the cameras.
"I hope we don't see people spray painting them over," he said.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

AC Transit Bus Fight Caught on Cell Phone Camera

Monday, February 15, 2010

WiFi Turns Bus into Rolling Study Hall

VAIL, Ariz. — Students endure hundreds of hours on yellow buses each year getting to and from school in this desert exurb of Tucson, and stir-crazy teenagers break the monotony by teasing, texting, flirting, shouting, climbing (over seats) and sometimes punching (seats or seatmates).

But on this chilly morning, as bus No. 92 rolls down a mountain highway just before dawn, high school students are quiet, typing on laptops.

Morning routines have been like this since the fall, when school officials mounted a mobile Internet router to bus No. 92’s sheet-metal frame, enabling students to surf the Web. The students call it the Internet Bus, and what began as a high-tech experiment has had an old-fashioned — and unexpected — result. Wi-Fi access has transformed what was often a boisterous bus ride into a rolling study hall, and behavioral problems have virtually disappeared.

“It’s made a big difference,” said J. J. Johnson, the bus’s driver. “Boys aren’t hitting each other, girls are busy, and there’s not so much jumping around.”

On this morning, John O’Connell, a junior at Empire High School here, is pecking feverishly at his MacBook, touching up an essay on World War I for his American history class. Across the aisle, 16-year-old Jennifer Renner e-mails her friend Patrick to meet her at the bus park in half an hour. Kyle Letarte, a sophomore, peers at his screen, awaiting acknowledgment from a teacher that he has just turned in his biology homework, electronically.

“Got it, thanks,” comes the reply from Michael Frank, Kyle’s teacher.

Internet buses may soon be hauling children to school in many other districts, particularly those with long bus routes. The company marketing the router, Autonet Mobile, says it has sold them to schools or districts in Florida, Missouri and Washington, D.C.

Karen Cator, director of education technologyat the federal Department of Education, said the buses were part of a wider effort to use technology to extend learning beyond classroom walls and the six-hour school day. The Vail District, with 18 schools and 10,000 students, is sprawled across 425 square miles of subdivision, mesquite and mountain ridges southeast of Tucson. Many parents work at local Raytheon and I.B.M. plants. Others are ranchers.

The district has taken technological initiatives before. In 2005, it inaugurated Empire High as a digital school, with the district issuing students laptops instead of textbooks, and more than 100 built-in wireless access points offering a powerful Internet signal in every classroom and even on the football field.

“We have enough wireless to make your fillings hurt,” says Matt Federoff, the district’s chief information officer.

District officials got the idea for wiring the bus during occasional drives on school business to Phoenix, two hours each way, when they realized that if they doubled up, one person could drive and the other could work using a laptop and a wireless card. They wondered if Internet access on a school bus would increase students’ academic productivity, too.

But the idea for the Internet Bus really took shape in the fall, when Mr. Federoff was at home, baby on his lap, and saw an advertisement in an electronics catalog offering a “Wi-Fi hotspot in your car.”

“I thought, what if you could put that in a bus?” he said. The router cost $200, and came with a $60 a month Internet service contract. An early test came in December, when bus No. 92 carried the boys’ varsity soccer team to a tournament nearly four hours away. The ride began at 4 a.m., so many players and coaches slept en route. But between games, with the bus in a parking lot adjacent to the soccer field, players and coaches sat with laptops, fielding e-mail messages and doing homework — basically turning the bus into a Wi-Fi cafe, said Cody Bingham, the bus driver for the trip.

Mariah Nunes, a sophomore who is a team manager, said she researched an essay on bicycle safety.

“I used my laptop for pretty much the whole ride,” Mariah said. “It was quieter than it normally would have been. Everybody was pumped about the games, and there were some rowdy boys. But the coach said, ‘Let’s all be quiet and do some homework.’ And it wasn’t too different from study hall.”

Ms. Bingham recalled, “That was the quietest ride I’ve ever had with high schoolers.”

Since then, district officials have been delighted to see the amount of homework getting done, morning and evening, as Mr. Johnson picks up and drops off students along the highway that climbs from Vail through the Santa Rita mountains to Sonoita. The drive takes about 70 minutes each way.

One recent afternoon, with a wintry rain pelting the bus, 18-year-old Jeanette Roelke used her laptop to finish and send in an assignment on tax policy for her American government class.

Students were not just doing homework, of course. Even though Dylan Powell, a freshman, had vowed to devote the ride home to an algebra assignment, he instead called up a digital keyboard using GarageBand, a music-making program, and spent the next half-hour with earphones on, pretending to be a rock star, banging on the keys of his laptop and swaying back and forth in his seat.

Two seats to the rear, Jerod Reyes, another freshman, was playing SAS, an online shooting game in which players fire a machine gun at attacking zombies.

Vail’s superintendent, Calvin Baker, says he knew from the start that some students would play computer games.

“That’s a whole lot better than having them bugging each other,” Mr. Baker said.

A ride through mountains on a drizzly afternoon can be unpredictable, even on the Internet Bus. Through the windows on the left, inky clouds suddenly parted above a ridge, revealing an arc of incandescent color.

“Dude, there’s a rainbow!” shouted Morghan Sonderer, a ninth grader.

A dozen students looked up from their laptops and cellphones, abandoning technology to stare in wonder at the eastern sky.

“It’s following us!” Morghan exclaimed.

“We’re being stalked by a rainbow!” Jerod said.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Cameras for school buses bill fails to get delegation support

ANNAPOLIS -- Frederick County's delegation of state lawmakers will not back a measure intended to catch people speeding past school buses.
The Frederick County Board of Education requested state legislation to install cameras that take pictures of cars passing stopped school buses with the stop sign out. Those caught in photographs would be issued a ticket with a fine.

Although against the law to pass buses with the stop sign out, the school system has noticed an increase in violations in the past three years, said Hal Keller, executive director of fiscal services.

Since December, the school system has recorded more than 100 people passing school buses loading and unloading children, Keller said.

"I'm here to eliminate that behavior," he told the delegation Friday. "I want to prevent a fatality before it occurs."

The delegation tied 4-4 over the proposal, which results in a failed motion.

Delegates Paul Stull, Galen Clagett, Donald Elliott and Sue Hecht were in favor. Sens. Alex Mooney and David Brinkley, and Delegates Charles Jenkins and Joe Bartlett voted against.

Several lawmakers said they were interested in introducing school-bus stop-sign cameras statewide. The proposal they voted on would have applied only to Frederick County.

Stull and Brinkley, both Republicans, said they would sponsor statewide school-bus camera bills in their respective chambers.

Brinkley thinks that is a better option. He didn't like it when Montgomery County was the only jurisdiction in the state with speed cameras and thought it would have made more sense to address that issue for the entire state, he said.

The proposed fine could range from $100 to $575 for each violation, depending on what lawmakers decide.

A person caught passing a stopped school bus by a police officer is subject to a fine up to $575, Keller said. The school system was not seeking to keep the proceeds of the fines; they had suggested giving them to a law enforcement agency instead.

Not everyone in the delegation has been convinced the cameras are a good idea, either for Frederick County or statewide.

Mooney, a Republican who represents Frederick and Washington counties, said he would be in favor of increasing the penalty for drivers caught by a police officer instead.

He suggested taking away driver's licenses for passing stopped school buses.

Mooney is opposed because he thinks speed and red light cameras don't improve public safety.

"I don't think they make the streets safer," he said. "With speed cameras, I think they can actually make the roads more dangerous."

The bills will now go to the full General Assembly for consideration, without further input from the Frederick County delegation.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Parents Concerned that School Bus Did Not Have Camera

CARBONDALE - A fight aboard a Carbondale Elementary School bus should have been caught on tape, and board members questioned Thursday why district-mandated cameras were not in place.

The school's transportation provider, JW Transit Inc., is contractually obligated to equip all buses with cameras, but there was no camera present on bus No. 6 the day two students started quarreling, said school Director Tracey Andrews.

When parents asked to check the recording from the bus, it was discovered that one was not available, she said.

She declined to name the students involved, or the parents who complained to her about the nonexistent tape.

She said she did not know anything about the severity of the fight.

"The parents didn't get into that part with me," she said.

Superintendent Dominick Famularo said the board will contact transportation contractor John Wansacz,, owner of JW Transit and a former transportation director, asking him to ensure that all vehicles are equipped with cameras, per his contract.

Transportation Director Kim Michalek said Mr. Wansacz is looking into replacing the bus with one that is equipped with a camera.

Mrs. Andrews said parents of the students involved met with Assistant Principal Joseph Golecki to discuss the fight. Attempts to reach Mr. Golecki were unsuccessful Thursday.

The board awarded Mr. Wansacz's company a five-year transportation contract in September at a total cost of $4.8 million.

The contract was originally awarded to Mr. Wansacz's company in June, while he was still district transportation director.

A competing bus company sued the district for awarding the contract to an employee. Mr. Wansacz resigned as transportation director, was again the low bidder and was awarded the contract.

Train Just Misses Man on the Tracks

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Chicago Transit Authority Approves Purchase of New Rail Cars Equipped with Security Cameras

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Taiwan Freeway Bus Crash

Witchita Planning for Police Car Cameras

WICHITA — Up to 175 police cars could have dash cameras someday soon under a request for federal money approved by Wichita City Council members.
The request asks for about $3.6 million to cover installation of 175 cameras, data technicians and other costs incurred over three years.
It will be up to federal officials to decide on money for the cameras and other city requests.
In 2008, police started a dash camera pilot project in eight marked police vehicles used mostly for traffic stops.
Late last year, a review of the project by police said the cameras were a good way to document drunk drivers, train other officers and show evidence in courtrooms. Similar benefits have been noted nationwide.
Wichita police have not used video cameras in their cars since the early 1990s, when the city discontinued a video camera program that was initiated with a federal grant.
Police said the program wasn’t a top priority and was too expensive to maintain.
Sunflower Community Action, a nonprofit group that advocates on residents’ behalf, began pressing for dash cameras in 2005.
The city resisted. Police said the cameras, though helpful, weren’t a priority.
Now, after Sunflower has met with City Manager Robert Layton on the issue, the city has requested federal funds, as Sunflower had advocated for.
The cameras are 11th on a list of 13 federal legislative priorities. A new police helicopter is ranked number 9.
The top priority is funding for road construction at I-235 and Kellogg, I-235 and Central and Kellogg and West Street.
Council members approved the list unanimously and without any substantial discussion.

Bus driver suspended after light rail collision - Caught on Camera

Jersey Shore Outfits School Buses With Cameras for $300 a Bus

JERSEY SHORE - In the interest of expediating the installation of security cameras on its fleet of 28 buses, the Jersey Shore Area School Board unanimously voted to split the cost to install the systems with its bus vendor.
The vote was made contingent upon a written agreement with its bus company.
Splitting the cost means the district will pay $8,400 to furnish the fleet with the cameras, at cost of about $300 per bus.
Employees from Wolfington Body Co. in New Buffalo, the company from which the district bought the cameras, will handle the installation, which is expected to be completed by Feb. 18, according to Superintendent Richard J. Emery.
In other business, the board authorized the solicitation for several project bids, which include repairing bleachers at its football stadium, and refurbishing the sewage treatment plants at Salladasburg and Nippenose Valley elementary schools.
While not formally voted on, the board also agreed to move forward in upgrading the high school's culinary arts classroom after hearing from Dorothy Chappel, director of career and technical education, on the classroom's declining conditions.
The project is planned to be completed in three phases, Chappel said.
This year, the district will replace its "center aisle," which consists of sinks, a dishwasher and dryer, at a cost of about $15,000.
Funding for this year's phase already is in place from department savings, according to Chappel and Emery.
Slated for the 2010-11 school year budget will be the last two phases, which will include running a gas line to the culinary area and the replacement of shelving and ovens, Chappel said.
Chappel estimated - based on the reception from various quotes - the total cost of the classroom renovation will be about $35,000.
In a presentation, Chappel also updated board members on the district's community and continuing education program.
The program exposes and educates both the community's youth and adult population to courses in areas such as business and vocational practices. It has been experiencing a decline in revenue and attendance patterns over the last two years.
Chappel guesses much of the loss might be a result of the economic collapse, as statistically the program showed a growth from its start in 2003 to the 2007-08 school year in both its fall and spring course offerings.
Board members - who all agreed on its vitality - suggested ways in which to help turnaround the program by strengthening advertisement of the program, so members in the community are more aware of what's available to them.
Also, Kelly Butzler, a Porter Township resident, spoke to board members about the importance of reopening its high school pool to the public.
Butzler cited the health benefits the community - from children to the elderly - could reap from his accessibility to them for a fee.
While the district closed the pool to the public before because of lack of apparent interest, Butzler said by advertising more may create a much better reaction if it reopens.
The district is continuing to explore the issue.
At an earlier meeting, the board approved the employment of Krista Peterson as special education director at a salary of $71,346, which is 90 percent of her actual salary of $79,273.
The next board meeting is at 7 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Administration Building.

Maryland Transit Selects March Networks for Bus Fleet Cameras

March Networks® (TSX: MN), a global provider of intelligent IP video solutions, today announced that the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) is deploying the company’s mobile video surveillance systems on its 669-vehicle, fixed-route bus fleet to dramatically improve incident investigations and coordinate with police and Homeland Security operations. MTA selected the solution based on its remote wireless downloading and monitoring capabilities, as well as its proven reliability and high performance in challenging mobile environments. The administration plans to have its entire bus fleet upgraded with the March Networks solution by March 2011.
While MTA staff must manually retrieve video from buses still equipped with legacy recorders, video from March Networks 5412 Mobile DVRs installed on approximately 130 new and retrofitted buses is downloaded automatically via a wireless network as vehicles enter one of four depots. In the future, the MTA plans to enable real-time video monitoring while buses are in service, taking advantage of the solution’s support for remote video access over GSM/CDMA/EVDO and WiMax mesh networks. The administration will work to provide law enforcement and Homeland Security agencies with access to the live video captured by cameras mounted both inside and outside of the buses to provide real-time, roaming surveillance in the case of an emergency or a security incident.
“The March Networks solution supports our plan to become one of the first transportation authorities in the United States to deploy a live, metro-wide surveillance capability using a state-of-the-art wireless mesh network. It has already significantly improved our ability to retrieve and store video and remotely monitor system health to ensure optimal performance,” said Tammi Bolden, manager of systems and equipment, MTA. “March Networks’ reputation for reliability, as well as its global footprint and vision, convinced us that this is the right company to partner with as part of our ongoing efforts to provide a secure environment for the public and our staff.”
The MTA’s fixed-route bus fleet serves 250,000 passengers daily in the city of Baltimore. Before choosing the March Networks solution from a field of more than a half-dozen competitive options, the administration visited transportation authorities in West Palm Beach and Miami, Florida, to learn about their successful March Networks deployments.
In tests conducted by the MTA, the 5412 MDVRs consistently downloaded 700 MB of video — the equivalent of one hour of video from 10 cameras on each bus — in less than five minutes. The systems enable operators to record video at 30 fps and stream the same video wirelessly from each camera at lower frame rates for live viewing. Furthermore, the 5412 MDVRs easily store video for up to 30 days, enabling the MTA to satisfy a state mandate it was unable to achieve with its legacy system.
“Recognized for exceptional performance and reliability, our mobile surveillance solutions are used by transportation authorities around the world to protect passengers and employees and reduce liability,” said Peter Strom, president and CEO, March Networks. “We are currently ranked as one of the leading providers of mobile video equipment by IMS Research, and we expect to continue expanding our market share in both the mobile and fixed transportation segments.”
March Networks will showcase its mobile video surveillance solution February 23 in Booth 202 at the 2010 TransITech Conference, Westin Beach Resort, Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

FY 2010 Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP): Deadline February 18, 2010 for Applications

Purpose: The purpose of the FY 2010 TSGP is to create a sustainable, risk-based effort to protect critical surface transportation infrastructure and the traveling public from acts of terrorism, major disasters, and other emergencies.
Eligible Applicants: Eligible agencies were determined by the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) urban areas list and the National Transit Database based on unlinked passenger trips. TSGP Tier I will continue to be comprised of the transit agencies in the eight highest risk urban areas and will continue to utilize the cooperative agreement process. TSGP Tier II will consist of all other eligible transit agencies.
Certain ferry systems are eligible to participate in the FY 2010 TSGP and receive funds under the TSGP Tier I cooperative agreement process. However, any ferry system electing to participate and receive funds under the FY 2010 TSGP cannot participate in the FY 2010 Port Security Grant Program (PSGP) and will not be considered for funding under the FY 2010 PSGP. Likewise, any ferry system that participates in the PSGP cannot be considered for funding under the TSGP.
Program Awards: Based upon ongoing intelligence analysis, extensive security reviews, consultations with the transit industry and Congressional direction, DHS once again intends to focus the bulk of its available transit grant dollars on the highest-risk systems in our country’s largest metropolitan areas. Eligible agencies were identified using a comprehensive, empirically-grounded risk analysis model that was also used in FY 2009.
DHS has also identified priority project types and placed them into groups based on their effectiveness to reduce risk. Certain types of projects that are effective at addressing risk will be given priority consideration for funding. These groups have been prioritized based upon departmental priorities and their ability to elevate security on a system-wide level, to elevate security to critical infrastructure assets, and to reduce the risk of catastrophic events and consequences.

FY 2010 TSGP Overview (PDF 345 KB)
FY 2010 TGSP Guidance and Application Kit (PDF 270KB, TXT 140KB)
FY 2010 TSGP Operational Expense Certification (PDF 11KB, TXT 2KB)
FY 2010 TSGP Investment Justification Template (PDF 64KB, TXT 14KB)
FY 2010 TSGP Budget Detail Worksheet (PDF 37KB, TXT 11KB)

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Prague Transport Authority to Use IP Bus Cameras

Axis Communications(1), the global leader in the network videomarket(2), announced today that over the next six years several hundred AXIS209FD-R(3) network cameras will be installed in new public transport buses inPrague. The IP cameras will be part of a system for monitoring each vehicle'sinterior, improving passenger security and providing evidence to help solveincidents of vandalism and other crimes.
Over the next six years, the SOR Libchavy bus manufacturerwill supply the Prague Transport Authority (DPHMP) with a total of 620 busesfor municipal transport. The new buses will have a modern design and meetstrict environmental criteria. Each bus will also be equipped with an IPsurveillance camera system(4) for monitoring its interior featuring the AXIS209FD-R network camera.
The AXIS 209FD-R network camera is a palm-sized, discrete,rugged network camera(5) designed specifically for the tough environmentsfound in mass transit vehicles. Its durable transparent cover providesexcellent protection against dust, humidity and vibrations. The smallbuilt-in heater eliminates condensation on the lens or cover. The cameras aredesigned for easy installation and can withstand the tough and changingconditions in buses.
The Axis camera's progressive scan technology(6) provides fullresolution images of moving objects with no distortion, thus ensuring goodquality evidence to help solve incidents of vandalism and other crimes. Allrecorded video has a resolution of up to 640×480 pixels, which is more thanthe 2CIF typically offered by analog systems. The AXIS 209FD-R networkcameras also feature specific intelligent capabilities(7) such as the activetampering alarm(8), which sends a warning sound when it detects that a vandalis attempting to move, block or cover it in spray-paint.
"The AXIS 209FD-R is designed for deployment in buses so ithas been specifically designed to prevent or reduce crime, graffiti andvandalism, which are the key requirements in this environment. In case of anaccident or crime, it also provides useful high-quality video evidence tosupport and accelerate the investigation process," says Edwin Roobol,Regional Manager NL, DACH and CEE.
100 AXIS 209FD-R cameras have been installed in the Praguebuses since November 2009. The whole project will be finished in 2014 andwill incorporate several hundred Axis IP cameras(9).

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Driver Caught on Camera Having Sex on Bus

A MARRIED bus driver was caught on camera having sex with his teenage lover on the stairs of his doubledecker.
Denzil Charleston, 47, and 19-year- old Jenny Escudero romped on the Uni-link vehicle while it was parked in a Southampton bus station.
The pair had begun an affair in August 2007 when the youngster was 17. But their illicit relationship turned sour when the married driver told his teenage mistress that he was planning to leave Southampton for a new life in the Channel Islands with his wife and children.
A day after breaking the news to Escudero, Mr Charleston was arrested after she told police that he had raped her on the bus, which is run by Bluestar.
However, when police questioned Mr Charleston about the allegations, he told them that she had given full consent to their double-decker sexual encounter and that it would have been filmed by the vehicle’s CCTV cameras, which were still running at the time.
After officers checked the explicit footage they began to question Escudero’s story. Mr Charleston was never charged over the allegation.
Escudero, of Lilac Road, Southampton, later admitted lying to police about the rape claim and pleaded guilty at Southampton Crown Court to attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Judge Peter Ralls QC said that when he first looked at the case he believed that it would end only in a “substantial prison sentence” as such a serious offence can undermine genuine rape cases.
However, after seeing a threatening letter allegedly sent to her by Mr Charleston’s daughter, he told the court it was clear that there was some background to her claims of harassment and that she may have felt justified in making her fake rape accusation as a “genuine cry for help”.
He also said that the evidence quickly cleared Mr Charleston of the allegations.
He told the court that Escudero had been very young and had “emotional difficulties” when she became involved with Mr Charleston and that the court needed to show an “element of mercy”.
Escudero was sentenced to 50 weeks, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 240 hours of unpaid work.
Bluestar operations manager Alex Hornby confirmed that Mr Charleston no longer worked for the firm. He said: “No company, let alone a bus operator, would ever tolerate behaviour of this nature from an employee.”

Monday, February 01, 2010

School Bus Stop Arm Cameras Sought by Winnipeg Schools

A Manitoba school division is pressing ahead with a plan to ask the provincial government to allow photo enforcement cameras to be used to catch drivers who blow by school bus stop signs.
Ken Krulicki, transportation supervisor with the Stonewall-based Interlake School Division, said he is currently working to gather some information requested by the province — including statistics on the number of “drive-bys” and a privacy assessment of the camera’s capabilities — and expects to present it to the government this spring.
The division will also make a formal request to allow the cameras to produce tickets that come with a $619 fine.
“It could be a devastating situation if there’s a drive-by when a student is walking across a road,” Krulicki said. “If we can stop people from driving by the buses, then it’s one less thing we have to be worried about.”
The ISD already ran a pilot program last spring in which a camera was mounted on the stop sign that swings out from the side of a bus and tested the system on a bus in the Balmoral area from mid-May until the end of the school year.
The camera was designed and installed by Winnipeg-based CVC Mobile, the same company that has installed security cameras inside several Manitoba school buses. The division has also been in discussions with ACS Public Sector Solutions, which manages the red light cameras and mobile photo radar in Winnipeg, about managing the program.
Krulicki detailed the process and his hopes for it in a letter to the government in October and got a reply in December requesting that he prepare a report discussing the privacy implications of using the cameras, gather information about the suspected number of drive-bys in the province, and come back with that information and the blessing of transportation departments from other school divisions.
Krulicki and others are now compiling the information, and he hopes to garner support for the initiative at the Manitoba Association of School Business Officials transportation conference in Brandon on Feb. 11 and 12. He expects to get it.
“I did a brief presentation at the last meeting we had and everyone was supportive of it,” Krulicki said.
The goal is to have government approval to have the cameras in place by the start of the next school year.
The provincial Highway Traffic Act would need to be amended to allow the cameras to be used to issue tickets, as school bus drive-bys are not currently listed as a photo enforceable offence.
A spokesman for Transportation Minister Steve Ashton said he’s unsure what other changes or departmental approvals would be needed to implement the plan until the government receives more details in a formal proposal.
He said the government can’t determine whether it’s supportive until it sees exactly what is being proposed.