Video Surveillance in Public Transport

security camera on wall of office building, security system concept
security camera on wall of office building, security system concept

A freeflowing argument for proactive vs. reactive solutions

A robust public transport sector is key to a thriving African economy; it decreases the number of vehicles on the road, it alleviates congestion and it reduces the carbon footprint. Clifton Greeff, Senior Business Development Manager and transport security solutions specialist at Sensor Security, talks more about how modern operators can ensure a safer commuter experience.

“We’ve taken a close look at the role video surveillance plays in public transport and the technologies and solutions that can aid operators in running their day to day business more efficiently. And given how liability claims have become more common place, we’ve investigated incident management as an important part of this solution too.” He adds.

A transport operator is faced with numerous challenges, including: a diversity of environments, health of equipment and system integration. Henry Brown, Sensor Security Sales Director, explains, “Video surveillance is used where commuters are present at stations or when they are on-board a bus or a train. These are known as static or mobile environments – and each has its own set of circumstances.” Clifton picks up the thread, “For example, the safety of the commuters at stations is paramount, while at the depots it’s the assets that one wants to protect. Operators also need to make sure that there are no obstructions en route that may put passengers at risk or cause scheduling delays.”

The duo explain that in static environments one typically sees a high camera count, which in turn leads to many “missed” incidents. Multiple cameras also require intensive monitoring and – more often than not – it’s difficult to locate the moment in question. Clifton expands, “When an incident occurs, video evidence is typically required from two different systems, making it harder for operators to supply solid forensic evidence, leaving them legally vulnerable.”

Clifton directs the conversation to the mobile environment, “If you think the camera count in the static environment is high, this number quickly rises in a fleet. As an operator, one needs to ensure that the equipment fitted to a vehicle, train or bus can withstand dust, vibration and heat.” Harsh conditions result in a high equipment failure rate and can even damage the host vehicle. What’s more, many of these cameras are not viewed live – largely given bandwidth and data storage constraints – making it hard to ascertain whether they are functioning or not. “And as mentioned previously, operators need to ensure that their cameras are online, recording, focused and unobstructed. So that should there be an incident, there is footage available.” Clifton continues, “This strongly indicates the value of an in-depth health monitoring system. And in fact, in the world of mobile surveillance system health monitoring, this has been a critical part in guaranteeing a 99% uptime.”

The final challenge Clifton talks about is disparate operating systems. “Historically, public transport systems rely on two completely different video management systems.” He continues, “But at Sensor, it’s our goal to deliver a modern surveillance system that caters for both mobile and static environments, offer robust and in depth system health monitoring, as well as the technology to offer a pro-active, event driven system with a structured work flow for the controllers.” The result? A safer and more efficient public transport system for passenger, transport operator and their employees.

To find out more about this exciting technology, please call Sensor Security on (011) 314 9419 or email:

Sensor Security are international distributors of Bosch, Hikvision and Virdi products.

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