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Safe Passage: How IP Video Helps Protect People and Assets in Transit

Filed under: Transit Security

In today’s digital world, it’s possible to do almost anything online. I can purchase groceries, check my bank balance or book a vacation, all with a few taps on a screen. Our ever-expanding set of e-services has made many modern-day tasks quick and convenient.

But as far as technology has come, some things still have not changed. After I’ve purchased my groceries online, I still need to get them to my house. If I need cash, I have to go to the bank or ATM to obtain it; and to enjoy my vacation, I need to physically travel to my destination.

In other words, the convenience of our digital world relies heavily on physical transportation. People and material goods require a means of transportation to make our economy function. And ideally, all of that transportation happens safely.

To help make that happen, many cities and private transportation services are turning to mobile IP video surveillance.

Mobile IP video allows for broad oversight of a transportation network because it lets you actually see inside and outside a moving vehicle in real-time via security cameras. Video is delivered over the internet, so you can view it remotely from any connected location.

Mobile video surveillance is frequently used to improve safety, solve crimes, and deter criminal behavior along transportation routes. Here are just a few recent examples:

Visual verification

The Capital District Transportation Agency (CDTA) in Albany, New York, has used its mobile surveillance system to help solve multiple crimes, including a brutal attack on a passenger. Cameras captured the victim getting off of a bus and her attacker following. The video allowed police to eventually identify and apprehend the woman’s assailant.

While this is an extreme example, it underscores the overall value of mobile surveillance video. It can help verify times and events, identify a suspect, or provide the missing puzzle piece in a larger investigation. Video can be used to prove exactly what happened, on any given day.

As well as solving more serious crimes, the insights from video can also help ensure day-to-day transportation safety standards, too.

This privately-owned healthcare organization uses its mobile surveillance to ensure service level standards on its buses. Because it works with elderly patients, strict safety standards must be followed; if a complaint is ever made, it can use its video to investigate.

Not surprisingly, this type of mobile solution is incredibly valuable to transportation providers; but there’s evidence that passengers actually want this technology in place, too.

In this Swedish study, passengers of a city bus line were surveyed after cameras were installed on the vehicles. According to the survey results, 60 per cent of passengers reported feeling safer after the cameras’ installation, and 17 percent said they travelled more as a result of the devices.

Protecting valuables in transit

Beyond passenger safety, video can help monitor and track assets in transit, too. A great example of this is deterring cargo theft, an estimated $30 billion problem in the U.S. In many cases, stolen cargo is never recovered, costing retailers massive amounts of money.

But technology is helping to change that. Sophisticated GPS tracking systems can help locate vehicles and freight, while in-vehicle cameras and recorders can provide remote video monitoring.

Video is frequently used to help solve cargo thefts, such as in this case, where the FBI used surveillance video from truck stops to build a case against a crime ring that was targeting shipments of electronics and pharmaceuticals. Investigators believe the criminals were responsible for more than $100 million worth of cargo thefts over a six or seven year timeframe.

But what if more cargo trucks had mobile video surveillance inside the vehicles? This would allow investigators to view video from the vehicles in real-time, and with the proper technology, track their GPS location.

The same technology can also be applied to armored vehicles, or any vehicle that transports high-value or specialized materials like cannabis, which is now legal for recreational use in countries like Canada as well as in several U.S. states.

Rapidly locating evidence

As we’ve seen, video can be incredibly effective at helping to protect people and assets in transportation, as well as solve crime. And recent advancements in technology have made transportation video investigations faster than ever before. Instead of watching hours of surveillance video, investigators can locate the exact clips they need by searching variables like vehicle speed, GPS location or a hard brake incident.

This is possible when video is integrated with a vehicle’s computer-aided dispatch (CAD) or Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) system. This type of integration keeps a very thorough record of everything that’s occurring with that vehicle as well as everywhere it’s traveled. This means transit agencies can use mobile video to monitor driver/operator compliance with speed limits, distracted driving policies and other safety standards, as well as investigate the circumstances around accidents.

The right solution is key

It’s important to note that mobile video is different than video installed in a fixed location like a building. Installing video in a moving vehicle requires specialized mobile recorders and cameras that are built to withstand the impact of rough, bumpy roads and the temperature changes that occur when a vehicle is parked outside.

These products are designed to protect video in challenging environments and they undergo rigorous testing to ensure they remain operational, even with blunt force impact.

Deploying products that are not designed for mobile use in vehicles could result in the loss of video, so it’s important to select the right solution. Do your research and look for a video surveillance manufacturer that has experience in the transportation sector.

If you’re interested in learning more about mobile video products, or about IP surveillance in general, feel free to contact me by posting your question or comment below:


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