Utah Transit Authority saves time and money with Milestone IP video

Utah Transit Authority saves time and money with Milestone IP video
Situation
Previously, the Utah Transit Authority’s (UTA) video security system was limited by the capacities of its servers. In 2013, it had reached the maximum of 500 cameras operating on three servers (one for management, two for recording), which made it impossible to expand the system by bringing additional cameras online. In addition, UTA was in the midst of building a new line out to the airport, and was eager to display an improved surveillance system to state dignitaries. What UTA needed was a much larger video surveillance system that would also be more efficient.

Solution
As of early 2015 UTA has deployed over 1,000 cameras from a mix of vendors: Axis, Panasonic, IQEye and Digital Watchdog. The system runs on nine HP servers provided by BCDVideo (eight for recording and one for management). With this system in place, UTA can expand to 2,000 cameras or more. The security cameras are accessible by dispatch, commuter and rail control centers and other authorized users.

Open Platform and Flexible Storage Translates to a Better System
Brent Edmunds, Co-Founder and President of Stone Security, knew that Lamount Worthy, Video Security Administrator of UTA, envisioned UTA operating a robust security system that was both easy to operate and flexible. Taking those priorities into consideration, he determined that Milestone technology would best fit UTA’s needs. “UTA doesn’t have cameras everywhere,” Edmunds said. “Instead, it deploys them in key locations, like facilities, onboard buses, and rail stations. The system supports many different kinds of cameras. Milestone marries two critical components for them: a centralized system and a lot of diversity in its deployment.”

Saving Money and Lives
The use of Milestone technology is having an immediate positive financial impact for UTA. UTA gate arms frequently get damaged or broken off by a truck or passenger vehicles. Prior to Milestone installation, these incidents would not only be costly but would often go unresolved.

“We were looking at two or three damaged gate arms a week,” Worthy says. “It’s usually around a thousand dollars per gate to repair. Now, the new camera deployments give us the means to recover those costs. Utah police can follow up and interview persons of interest, and attorneys can choose which of these cases to pursue. I would say that this year alone Milestone has already saved us tens of thousands of dollars. We are moving to a time where the system will actually pay for itself.”

“Our cameras have captured crimes that occurred off UTA property, and these videos were provided to local police to assist with their investigations. Without our new video deployment, who knows how many man-hours might have been spent on these case. We’re talking about lives in some of these cases - and you can’t put a price on that.”

A More Secure Transit System
One of the most important features of the Milestone system is evidence lock, a new function that secures select video recordings for investigations. Evidence lock allows Milestone clients to extend the retention time for video recordings from selected cameras in a set time interval by overriding normal video retention policies.

Preventing Accidents Before They Happen

Another benefit to the Milestone system is that it acts as an early warning system. UTA has cameras stationed at some of its bus garages. Worthy says these cameras can zoom in to focus on substances pooling on bus floors to quickly detect if one of the buses has a leak.

The video system has also been used to prevent more serious incidents. When UTA had a truck stalled on a train track, the truck driver did not call in to report the incident as he was supposed to. However, a camera caught the incident, and a technician called Union Pacific to let them know what was happening. UTA operates in a rail corridor adjacent to a freight line. Once a freight train conductor sees potential danger, he has a limited window to stop the train. In this instance, Milestone helped avert a potentially serious accident.

A Server-Based System Saves Time and Energy
UTA has equipped its system with monitoring alarms in 19 different locations, mostly in remote bungalows that require navigating through difficult terrain. Before implementing Milestone, an alarm meant that a UTA tech employee had to drive to the location to check the cause. If the employee was based in Salt Lake City heading to a remote place, it could take a half hour each way, which meant UTA had to pay overtime. The Milestone system lets staff access the video remotely; if someone determines the alarm isn’t serious, he does not have to make the trip, which saves time, money and manpower.

Worthy learned about Milestone Interconnect by attending the 2015 Milestone Integration Platform Symposium (MIPS). He says that his boss does not have to worry about him travelling because of Milestone’s impressive remote capabilities. When away, Worthy is able to access a virtual private network (VPN) and log into the video system to check on its status.


Product Adopted:
Software, Network Cameras


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