Rail is one of the most important forms of transportation. Yet, with the threat of terrorism and other criminal activities on the rise, they increasingly rely on technology to protect people and assets.
Since September 11, and more specifically following the Madrid and London rail attacks, there has been an increased awareness of terrorist threats on mass transit and the particular vulnerabilities of this transport mode. When looking at threats in this environment, and with less tools in place to prevent attacks, managers need to leverage technology to help identify threats and prevent attacks before they happen.
Luckily, the increasing availability of data has helped them in this regard. The use of Big Data has become increasingly important to maintain a high level of safety in transportation environments. Data analysis enables officials to identify the most critical information to help mitigate risk, manage emergency situations and investigate incidents using the data and information provided to them.
Video – Primary Source of Data
Video, taken by IP cameras installed throughout a station, remains the most important data help operators meet their security objectives. But, with so much video data in place, how to turn it into actionable intelligence – information that helps operators prevent, respond to and deal with an event, has become a main challenge. This is where analytic software comes in, tools that instantly alert operators of abnormality or irregularities.
Nearly 90 percent of the activity captured by video surveillance is irrelevant, but filtering out the noise is tricky – what if security teams need to comb through it all? Without high-performance video intelligence solutions and video analytics, whether built-in or from a third party, sorting through and analyzing video footage will continue to be a considerable task.
With security IP cameras already in-place to capture video footage and images, we are now able to extend the capabilities of a VMS system with emerging analytics features working together to offer features like people counting, traffic flow, rate of interaction, and visual tracking. Benefits include, for example, being able to query and identify everyone wearing a blue shirt, or pick out all persons walking in a specified direction; even if they are running or moving faster than the standard traffic flow. At a metro or train station, video with analytics can allow station security operators to define ‘zones’ to watch, assuring that passengers don’t cross or jump over. With analytics, we can set up tripwire detection, so that when someone crosses defined lines or forbidden zones, we get an immediate alert, activating many additional ‘event’ features.
Besides real-time event management, video data is also needed for post-event investigations. Thanks to advances in compression and storage technologies, video can be stored for a longer period of time, thus helping operators in this regard.
There have been major developments in the image quality of video surveillance and video storage in recent years, allowing railway stations to record many hours of high quality footage. These recordings are essential to successfully identifying criminal activity and also ensuring those responsible can be more easily prosecuted by the authorities.
Source: a&s Magazine