Public transport bets on biometrics to boost safety and efficiency

Public transport bets on biometrics to boost safety and efficiency
The use of biometric technology is becoming increasingly popular in the public transport sector, as issues like the on-train shooting in France spark debate on methods to ensure better protection for travelers.
Biometric systems have already made inroads into air transport, especially at the international travel, but its adoption in local commuting systems have been slower. The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), the biggest municipal transit agency in North Texas, recently became one of the early adopters, having decided to set up facial recognition technology on cameras in its trains.
These cameras with integrated biometrics software are expected to serve several purposes, including keeping track of train capacity, medical emergencies and will allow the police to know when a wanted person is on board.
But security is just one benefit transport authorities are looking at when opting for biometric solutions. Early this year, facial recognition technology was implemented in Beijing Train Station ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays to improve passenger processing efficiency. Traffic in the Chinese capital sees a massive increase during this season every year.
Passengers had to use a smart ID card and a smart ticket. The face scanner would match its reading with the image on the ID for verification.
There are other developing countries following suit, although their main requirements differ. Train stations in certain Indian cities are planning to make use of passengers’ biometric data to curb the menace of touts.
“Anyone who goes to the reservation center to purchase a railway ticket will have to collect a token after recording his finger and palm print. Incidentally, this system also ensures that the person does not have to stand in a queue. An electronic board will tell the person the counter number where he can purchase his ticket,” a senior Indian railway official was recently quoted by the local daily Times of India.
The advantages of biometrics in transportation systems in clear. It offers the best possible solution for safer travel, while making the process of ticketing and passenger management simpler. These advantages are expected to drive more transport companies to consider biometric solutions in the coming years. And with more integration, it could work hand-in-hand with the traditional security systems.  

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