Monday, August 30, 2010

"[Cameras] Help a Deter Crime" says San Francisco PD

A stabbing aboard a Muni bus in the Sunset district is the most recent in a string of knifings aboard the transit system during the past year despite an overall drop in violent crimes.

A man aboard a 29-Sunset bus who slapped a woman proceeded to stab a victim, who had intervened, with an “unknown sharp object.”

Late last month, a man was knifed near a T-Third Street platform in the Bayview district, halting service so police could hunt for suspects on the light-rail vehicle.

In the fall, there was the unprovoked stabbing of a 24-year-old woman riding a J-Church light-rail vehicle. That crime was investigated as being connected to an attack on an 11-year-old boy on Muni in September.

Police say that in the past year they have taken a more proactive role, mainly by using a data-collection system that sends officers to the most-dangerous lines and stations during times when crime is most prevalent.

The enforcement has paid off, officials said. During the first four months of the year, there were more than 100 criminal incidents recorded monthly, including assault, robbery, graffiti and other vandalism, police said.

The numbers dropped nearly 50 percent in May and June, to 62 crimes per month, figures showed.

“Our department has been working harder to get on Muni,” police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.

Esparza added that more undercover officers are riding the system, thus deterring criminal activity.

But, that’s only one tactic for keeping buses safe, he said. Officers can’t be on every Muni bus and streetcar at all times, but working surveillance cameras can monitor offenses. Last year, Muni was criticized for having a large number of inoperable cameras on vehicles.

That has since changed, Muni spokesman Paul Rose said.

The 5,500-odd cameras on buses, streetcars and in stations are in working order, he said.

“We monitor them every day to make sure they are operating properly,” Rose said.

Some are older technology, but the agency has stepped up its preventive maintenance during the past few months, Rose said.
In the stabbing on the 29-Sunset bus Monday, cameras were working and cops were reviewing footage to identify suspects, officials said.

“[Cameras] help a lot,” Esparza said. “Just having that presence and the visibility in the public to deter crime is great.”

Camera Shows Teen Attacking Gay Man On SF Muni Bus

Thursday, August 26, 2010

WMATA Installs Cameras to Monitor Bus Drivers

Metro is installing cameras on its entire fleet of 1,500 buses as part of a five-year, $3 million program to monitor driving by bus operators and improve safety, transit officials said Wednesday.

The new camera system will be focused on drivers as well as activity outside the bus. The cameras are recording constantly during bus operations, but when a driver makes any extreme movement -- such as turning the bus sharply or accelerating quickly -- the cameras capture the 15 seconds before and after the incident. The video and audio of the incident is then automatically downloaded off the bus wirelessly when the bus returns to the garage.

Metro already has security cameras installed on more than 1,000 buses that are aimed in front of the bus as well as at passenger areas and are intended to document and deter accidents, crimes and conflicts, Metro spokesman Reggie Woodruff said. However, the existing cameras require that the video be retrieved within a couple of days or it is recorded over.

Metro is installing the new cameras on buses and training bus operators at each of its nine bus garages, starting at the large Bladensburg garage, said Jack Requa, Metro's assistant general manager of bus services. He said Metro will begin turning on the cameras in October, and all will be running by January.

"If a driver is showing less attention, with hands not always on the wheel, we can use it as training," he said. "Because the operator knows the camera will be watching him or her, they will try to minimize the times the system is triggered, and it will lead them to be more alert." Even driving over a pothole can trigger the system, Requa said.

DriveCam, the San Diego-based firm contracted to conduct the program, will analyze data from any incidents and provide it to Metro to promote better driving habits and also help with investigations. Metro has purchased the cameras and will have the option of operating them and analyzing the data with its own staff after two years.

Money became available for the cameras last spring, Requa said.

"When we had the opportunity to do both [security cameras and DriveCam], we jumped on it, because we know others had used it and it had a pretty drastic impact on reducing accidents," he said.

Despite some highly visible bus accidents this summer -- such as an alleged hit and run earlier this month in Ballston and an incident in which a bus crashed into a yard in Silver Spring in July -- Metro's bus accident rate has been declining in recent years, according to data from the agency. The bus accident rate for fiscal year 2010, which ended in July, was 1.57 accidents for every 100,000 miles. "Those were preventable accidents," where the Metro bus operator was all or partially at fault, Requa said. In 2009 the rate was 1.79, and in 2008 it was 1.91.

"This region is highly congested and has lots of traffic. . . . We are pleased with a progressive rate of decrease," he said.

Along with the training and safety benefits, Metro officials said, the system is expected to help cut down on damage to buses, workers' compensation claims as well as personal injury by preventing accidents. Improved driving habits by bus operators, such as not driving too fast or accelerating too quickly between stops, will help save fuel, Woodruff said.

The DriveCam system is in use by other transit agencies in San Francisco, Austin and New Jersey, officials said. In the Washington area, DriveCam users include Washington Gas, Amerigas and AGL Resources.

Monday, August 23, 2010

School bus cameras aim to curb drivers passing on red

If you speed past a school bus Monday, smile -- you might be on camera.
Frederick County Public Schools has installed the $1,350 external cameras on 11 buses within the past year. Nine additional cameras are ready for deployment among the 422 buses in the entire fleet, 364 of which are on the road each day of the school year.

The two-camera system mounted below the bus's flashing stop sign can capture a vehicle's front and back license plate, time, date, GPS position and speed.

But drivers won't get ticketed if caught on camera -- yet. A bill on the matter before the General Assembly earlier this year was not approved, keeping the measure from passing into law.

While details of incidents are being collected and data -- including a photo and video -- if it's available -- are sent to local law enforcement agencies, police can't administer any fines unless an officer is present to see the violation itself.

The school system plans to return with a tweaked proposal next year that would create a civil citation for Frederick.

Hal Keller, the school system's executive director of fiscal services, said his focus is on improving safety.

"I'm not looking to make money. I'm focused on safety," Keller said.

He said he would be happy with the option of a civil citation, charging violators a fine of around $75 to $125, thus avoiding a court visit.

"We don't feel there is anything more dangerous than cars passing a vehicle (with exiting children)," Keller said.

More than 200 violations have been recorded over the last three fiscal years, said Veronica Lowe, FCPS director of transportation.

She said she believed violators are often talking on their cell phone, multitasking or just not paying attention.

Keller said the cameras are being installed on buses routed to locations where most violations have been tracked.

"The hope is that if this is successful, we will never issue another citation, because there will never be another passing car," Keller said.

He hopes the cameras will have an impact on driver behavior.

Lowe agreed, adding the school system was taking the problem seriously.

"Red means stop. We're serious about it," Lowe said.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Korean CNB Bus Explosion Caught on Camera

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Directory of Driver Risk Management Camera Systems

    With increased incidents of distracted driver related incidents and overall concerns regarding transportation quality of service the use of windshield mounted surveillance cameras has increased. These devices are primarily used to observe and record drivers skills and have field of view forward through windshield and another camera facing backward to observe the driver. Years ago, the initial provider of these devices had been DriveCam but new providers have emerged with different offerings and technology. Some of these producted have gravitated and been productized for specific vehicle markets including Taxi, School Bus and Para Transit. There has also been recorded use of these devices for first response vehicles like EMT and Fire and Cash-In-Transit vehicles. Transportation directors primarily consider the use of these cameras because of the following reasons: - Quality of Service Issues - Driver Risk Management and Training - Traffic Incident Reporting - Route Management - Distracted Driving (IE: Texting) - Procedure compliance (IE: restraints) - Green Initiatives - Backseat Passenger Recording

    Here's the updated directory of current camera systems.


    Wednesday, August 11, 2010

    Railroad Conducts Safety Operation - News Cameras Rolling

    Abu Dhabi Department of Transportation Selects IP Video Solution

    March Networks, a global provider of intelligent IP video solutions, today announced that the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport (DOT) in the United Arab Emirates is using the company's VideoSphere(R) solution in a new customer care facility to ensure the safety and security of clients and staff, and improve customer service. The solution includes VideoSphere Video Management System (VMS) software, CamPX MiniDome IP cameras and analytics available in the VideoSphere portfolio.

    Responsible for Abu Dhabi's extensive network of road, rail, port and air travel infrastructure, the DOT recently opened the state-of-the-art facility in the Marina Mall to provide permit and licensing services to hundreds of customers daily. Staff are also available to receive transport-related suggestions and complaints from the public. The DOT selected the March Networks solution for its exceptional video quality, efficient H.264 compression and system reliability, as well as its support for advanced analytic applications such as left object detection and queue length monitoring.

    "The March Networks system is ideally suited to the open, service-oriented character of the DOT's customer care facility," said Fayez Kahale, Director, Metallic Equipment Technologies E.S.T (METECH EST). "It enables them to maintain the highest security standards and respond proactively to potential customer issues, such as increasing wait times or service delays."

    Working with METECH EST, an experienced March Networks' Certified Solution Provider based in the region, the DOT has expanded its IP surveillance system with additional CamPX MiniDome IP cameras. In the future, it can also use the solution to integrate existing analog CCTV infrastructure into the all-IP video network cost-effectively using VideoSphere Edge encoders and powerful video management software.

    "Government agencies around the world are using our VideoSphere solutions for advanced security, risk mitigation and customer service in both their mobile and fixed environments," said Peter Strom, President and CEO, March Networks. "As these organizations continue to transition to the latest IP video technologies, our company is well positioned to further increase our market share in this growing vertical."

    Labels: , ,

    Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    Fastest School Bus Ever! - Caught on Camera

    New Camera System on School Buses Aimed at Fellow Motorists

    School Bus Cameras Look For Traffic Violations - Local News Story - KHBS NW Arkansas

    Friday, August 06, 2010

    Dramatic Transit Bus Video Settles Law Suit in Conneticut

    Wednesday, August 04, 2010

    Train In-Cab Camera Surveillance Catches Near Miss

    See Video

    This is the horrifying moment a young boy plays chicken with a high-speed train - and scrambles to safety by just one second.

    Cctv footage taken from a camera in the driver's cab shows the unknown lad standing on the track as the train approaches.

    As the driver frantically applies the brakes, the hooded youngster struggles to haul himself up from the tracks.

    The train then roars past, narrowly missing the youngster as he lies face-down on the platform at Rochford in Essex.

    He can count himself very lucky indeed.

    Network Rail revealed yesterday that 49 people have died trespassing on tracks between April 2009 and March 2010. And they claimed children were behind almost 3,400 incidents of trespass and vandalism in the same period - or 10 every single day.

    Some 180 bikes were hurled on railway lines as well as 76 shopping trolleys, 55 traffic cones, seven prams, five dustbins, three TVs, a bouncy castle and four trampolines, including one dropped from a bridge on to a train.

    It claims that the total number of train crimes committed by under-18s has fallen by a third since 2008/09.

    Robin Gisby of Network Rail said: "It's good to see the number of incidents involving young people coming down.

    But far too many continue to risk their lives by taking a misguided short cut or, worse, messing around on the tracks.

    "Unlike cars, trains cannot swerve and can take the length of 20 football pitches to stop."

    Trespassing on the railway carries a fine of up to £1,000.

    Deputy Chief Constable Paul Crowther of British Transport Police said: "Anyone who messes around near the tracks is not only risking a court appearance, they are putting their lives at risk."

    Tuesday, August 03, 2010

    England's Northern Rail Network to Install CCTV On-Board Inter-Urban Rail

    Passengers travelling on Northern Rail inter-urban services in the North of England will soon be ensured of increased safety and security thanks to Petards latest contract win.Petards has been awarded the contract for the on-board and forward facing CCTV for use on over 160 class 158 and 333 vehicles currently in operation.
    The number of vehicles involved represents approximately a quarter of the Northern Rail fleet. Future potential could see further phases that will extend the fitment of the Petards eyeTrain system to other Northern Rail vehicles across their wide ranging network.

    The value of the CCTV orders total over £500,000 and deliveries are expected to commence later this year and will be completed by Spring 2011.

    Commenting on the order, Petards Commercial Director - Transport, Balvinder Chana said "We are very pleased to be working again with Northern Rail, Angel Trains and Porterbrook Leasing Company on this project. The Northern Rail network serves a region of some 15 million people and we are delighted that our eyeTrain solution will provide them with increased safety and security.

    Once again the eyeTrain system has been chosen by a major UK Train operating Company endorsing the quality of both design and performance of Petards state of the art on train surveillance systems".