Since Sept. 11, widespread fear of public transportation has spurred government attention to investigate local metro security. Old and new projects now specify more sophisticated and automated technology to protect passengers and streamline management processes.
Several high-profile cases have highlighted pressing threats for metro security. In 1995, the first large-scale use of chemical weapons occurred in the Tokyo subway system. Sarin gas was successfully used in the attack, resulting in the deaths of 11 people and more than 5,000 injuries. In another case, 10 explosive devices were detonated simultaneously in Madrid, killing 200 and injuring more than 1,000. These attacks highlight the vulnerability of public spaces such as platforms and ticketing areas, said Tom Thornton, Segment Leader of Critical Infrastructure Protection Team, Honeywell Automation Control Solutions. One of the biggest problems is making public transportation secure, while maintaining public confidence in the system without interrupting and slowing the flow of people.
Below are the tellings of successful case studies around the world, from the U.S. to China and Germany, that give evidence to the ongoing global efforts for increased metro safety and security.
GE Security Guards Philadelphia Subways
In Nov. 2008, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority installed GE Security's mobile surveillance system in 135 trains as part of a homeland security upgrade. Dubbed the "subway hammer attack," in Sept. 2008, a five-minute assault on a dozing man by a hammer-wielding attacker on the Philadelphia subway was captured by GE's surveillance system.
Shortly after 12:15 a.m., video showed a 26-year-old-man viciously attack another man. Police released the surveillance video to the public, and the attacker's family members recognized him, promptly notifying authorities. Police were then able to track him down and arrest him.
GE's mobile system has storage media that help maintain the integrity of surveillance data, and an embedded operating system and firmware to monitor key system functions and voltage and temperature fluctuations. It meets ever-increasing storage needs with a standard 1-terabyte removable and warm-swappable mass storage caddy. This allows sequestering of all video data. The combination of H.264 compression, adjustable image settings (frame rate and resolution), and removable mass storage ensures maximum flexibility in meeting onboard storage requirements.
When paired with GE's management platform, wireless technologies extend the mobile surveillance function set by adding automated data management, scheduled download, event notification services and device health reporting. These functions save labor, reduce frustration and enhance productivity.
ObjectVideo Oversees Shenzhen Metro
The Shenzhen Metro is in Guangdong Province, China. ObjectVideo and TeraMage provided the intelligent video surveillance solution to help secure two of Shenzhen's future metro lines, Airport Extension Lines 1 and 2. The implementation phase of the project began at the end 2008. When completed, the two new lines will add 26 subway stations to the system.
The solution will help ensure passenger safety and security by leveraging video analytics technology to immediately and automatically alert security personnel when suspicious behaviors are detected on any station platform. For instance, the system can alert security personnel if a relevant event takes place on a subway platform or anywhere within a camera's view.
Discerning Objects of Interest
Embedded onboard analytics can discern objects of interest, distinguishing between humans, vehicles, and other objects, and continuously tracking positions for all moving and stationary targets. The system also recognizes if objects have been removed or left behind at a designated site. When significant changes are detected in the video, the analytics log the event and issue an alert — with still images or full-motion video — over the IP network to security personnel.
The solution is designed in the small form factor of a stand-alone box supporting IP and dry contact alarms. Its small size makes it suitable for the confined infrastructure of subway tunnels and underground passenger platforms. Loop-through video connection and rack-mountable capabilities provide flexibility and easy configuration during onsite deployment.
Mobotix for Station Security
More than US$306 million was invested in a single "Traveler Information System" project to keep travelers informed for smoother station management at Magdeburg, Germany. The system is a technical and organizational platform that supplies consistent, reliable and up-to-date information about the current operating status to customers and employees alike. Onboard personnel can, for example, use text messaging technology to communicate with operations control, and to quickly inform passengers about any irregularities. Since station operators and service staff are likewise linked to the system, passengers waiting at stations can receive the same information.
A $905,000 announcement center has been operating in Magdeburg for five years. In addition to the city's own central station, the center also serves 20 other stations between Sch?nebeck/Elbe to the south, and Genthin to the northeast. Advanced, but proven technology enables employees to quickly assess situations at the three announcement points, and pass accurate information to the 40,000 daily travelers and visitors at the Magdeburg central station alone.
Mobotix cameras assist the announcement service. The cameras are not only used to track movement of the trains, but increasingly, they are also expected to perform security functions.
Images Around the Clock
Today, 17 Mobotix cameras are installed at Magdeburg central station, three at Magdeburg-Neustadt and another two at Sch?nebeck/Elbe. All cameras record images of the tracks and platforms around the clock. Employees can view them simultaneously or individually simply by the click of a mouse. The cameras constitute an autonomous network within a free IP segment group. External sites are connected via DSL to ensure stable delivery and faster upload rates. The images are displayed on monitors at the announcement center, where staff can see all camera angles simultaneously or zoom in on selected tracks.
Station security is an important issue as they are busy places in large cities. Using reliable cameras is a valuable way to guarantee the security of passengers.