Home News UK public transport security to benefit from growing shift towards real-time video surveillance

UK public transport security to benefit from growing shift towards real-time video surveillance

by Brian Sims
Canary Wharf Station in the heart of London's Docklands

Canary Wharf Station in the heart of London’s Docklands

A move away from legacy analogue CCTV technology to IP video solutions will enable critical transport networks to effectively deter, detect and delay threats to ensure passenger safety. More than 85% of transport networks across Western Europe are planning to install IP cameras in the near future. That’s according to a recent survey commissioned by Axis Communications in partnership with the global public transport organisation the Union Internationale des Transports Publics (UITP).

Globally, the transport industry has led the way in using network video for both security and commercial applications. IP video surveillance is also increasingly playing a crucial role in the smooth and efficient running of significant parts of the UK’s rail network, as highlighted by the successful deployment of network camera technology at Canary Wharf Station. This has assisted the station’s management team to facilitate 24-hour rail operations and improve passenger safety.

The shift towards IP video surveillance is helping operators use real-time analytics to enhance decision-making, ranging from common platform changes to the more infrequent critical scenarios, such as a station clearance in response to a security threat or other emergency scenario. For example, machine learning technology is helping to turn vast transport surveillance infrastructures into live monitoring systems. This software identifies what’s ‘normal’ activity within a scene, automatically creating an alert if ‘abnormal’ activity is recognised.

However, despite this migration trend, the UK has struggled to keep pace with developments in such technologies. Although 97.3% of survey respondents said they had some degree of video surveillance installed, 66% cited either ‘other priorities’, ‘funding difficulties’ or ‘no clear business case’ as the main barriers for not investing in more innovative IP technology. Interestingly, approximately 75% of those who responded ‘no clear business case’ relied on outdated analogue technology to meet their surveillance needs.

Security and efficiency benefits

Lucas Young, business development manager for the transportation sector at Axis Communications, stated: “These results are incredibly important. The perceived lack of a business case highlights that many transport operators are unaware of the security and efficiency benefits real-time video surveillance can offer. To respond to security events as and when they happen, a proactive rather than a reactive approach is required. That just isn’t possible with legacy CCTV equipment.”

Lucas Young

Lucas Young

Young continued: “When analysing security footage in real-time with advanced IP technology, operators are faced with hundreds of live feeds. This may seem daunting, but automated alerts can assist in managing the increased amount of data real-time video creates, helping to identify potential threats as they happen and prevent them from becoming security incidents. This is also freeing up valuable staff time, such that members of the team can concentrate on improving the passenger experience.”

In conclusion, Young explained: “While the benefits of connecting once offline technologies to a network creates an array of benefits for transport networks, it’s also important to note that all devices connected to the Internet are potentially vulnerable to cyber attack. Cyber security is a huge issue for the transport industry and could prove a costly oversight if technology isn’t implemented correctly. We aim to protect our transport networks not only from physical threats, but also from those posed in the online environment.”

*To learn more about why real-time video surveillance is set to become the cornerstone of public transport safety in the UK, download the latest Axis Communications White Paper at: http://www.axis-communications.com/Video_surveillance_in_real_time

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