As anyone who has ever flown on a commercial airline since 2001 knows, security measures at airports are well enforced and the emphasis on traveler safety is all around the airport and its grounds.

Mass transportation, meanwhile, presents a special but not any less significant challenge when it comes to determining security issues. These facilities need to develop the means to protect a constantly changing and large population of passengers. And unlike airports these facilities often have hundreds of points of entry and exit on multiple modes—buses, subways, light rail, commuter trains, even ferries.

About 2 million Americans will use the nation’s airways on a given work day, while 35 million people will board some form of public transportation. In fact, statistics have shown that nearly 11 billion trips are taken on public transportation every year. In some large metropolitan areas in North America where mass transit is well established, more than 20 percent of the area’s inhabitants get around via public transportation.About 2 million Americans will use the nation’s airways on a given work day, while 35 million people will board some form of public transportation

Solving Mass Transit Security

For transportation officials and their security providers, solving the mass transit security issue begins with determining the key concerns and then creating the proper responses via security systems, policies and procedures to mitigate the risks.

Although vandalism and graffiti are very visible signs of criminal behaviour in mass transit settings such as bus stops and subway stations, this is not where transportation officials typically focus their energy. Fences and gates can secure out-of-service buses and train cars, as can remote surveillance methods to keep such vandalism at a minimum.

Instead, it is the day-to-day safety and security of transit riders and employees that should become the highest priority. This begins with creating the safest environment possible that is highlighted with appropriate signage and, when necessary, audible warnings, and supporting that with technology, such as surveillance cameras, that will document what has happened if an incident occurs.Analytics can also be useful in alerting security about other suspicious behaviours at a transit stop, such as an untended bag or package

Crime Prevention In Transportation

Analytics can also be useful in alerting security about other suspicious behaviours at a transit stop, such as an untended bag or package Incidents of concern within a transit setting can take several forms, ranging from legitimate accidents or crimes to false claims such as faked fall down the stairs to potential and actual suicides. Bus and subway stations also have become magnets for homeless people who may put themselves and others in harm’s way by trying to access less secure public areas within a station as temporary shelters.

If someone is injured on a subway platform and the transit provider is held liable, it could be on the hook for hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars. Suicides are a major concern for operators, with personnel now being trained to look for individuals who seem distressed, are loitering in the area or are intentionally putting themselves in a dangerous situation, such as standing too close to the edge of a platform.

The deployment of video analytics, which can be programmed to send alerts when certain pre-set actions occur, can help determine when such dangerous behaviours come into play. Analytics can also be useful in alerting security about other suspicious behaviours at a transit stop, such as an untended bag or package or a person going into a restricted area.

Whether it is on the bus, train or ferry or at the stops themselves, cameras and intuitive video management systems are the key to both active and forensic transit security.

 typical 30-foot bus often has six cameras—one each at the front and middle doors, two more within the bus and then one looking forward and another looking behind the bus
Some cities use buses that are up to 60 feet long and those can be equipped with up to a dozen cameras

Train Security And Safety

By using the proper cameras and recording systems in a transit environment, quick-acting personnel can locate a person of interest who boarded a train at one station, follow him during his trip and produce a crisp, clear identifiable image at the end. Those setting up the system thus should keep in mind proper camera positioning, resolution and motion-based changes to framerates or other compression settings.

A typical 30-foot bus often has six cameras—one each at the front and middle doors, two more within the bus and then one looking forward and another looking behind the bus. The latter two are important in the event of accidents to verify liability. Some cities use buses that are up to 60 feet long and those can be equipped with up to a dozen cameras.Train stations often deploy high-definition cameras to better support facial recognition software to get that actionable image

Train cars are similarly equipped with two to four cameras to view activity down the centre aisle. Within the stations themselves, there can be from 15 to 30 or more cameras capturing wide-angle shots. Train stations, which have a restricted point of egress, often deploy high-definition cameras to better support facial recognition software to get that actionable image.

Installing The Right Technology For The Solution

Although bandwidth and storage can be a concern, with motion-based recording, the resolution can be bumped up during event, resulting in a 1-megapixel stream jumping to 4 or even 8mbps when needed. By changing the resolution on demand, end users can cut their storage needs significantly.

Transportation settings often rely on the same technology used in other security installations, primarily mini dome cameras, although there are some mini transit domes built specifically for the environment with the proper aesthetics. Because of vandalism threats, transit typically avoids pendant mounts, which can be more easily grabbed and damaged. Temperature ratings for cameras also come into play in cold climates with cameras often getting outdoor exposure.Today’s new buses and trains are constructed with the cameras onboard and newer stations also take security into consideration at the earliest design stage

As trains and buses move along their routes, especially those that service outlying areas, Internet connectivity becomes an issue as well. Because it may be difficult for video to be sent in transit, security bus barns are equipped with Wi-Fi so video from onboard cameras can be downloaded at the end of the day. And the use of hardened recorders at the stations allows security personnel to retrieve recorded video.

Transit Security With Modern Technology

Today’s new buses and trains are constructed with the cameras onboard and newer stations also take security into consideration at the earliest design stage. Older infrastructure from long-standing subway and bus terminals can prove to be a challenge when adding security, but these issues aren’t insurmountable.

Often the solution is to add more cameras to cover the same square footage because of less-than-ideal sight lines and to place conduit wherever it works best, which may mean positioning it under platforms or in other out-of-the-way places within older stations.

Looking ahead, transit security will continue to evolve, not only as new stations and modes of transportation are added to the system, but in terms of communicating with commuters. People can expect to get mass notification alerts on their mobile devices, and those same devices can provide vital data to transportation entities to better develop their overall systems.

Download PDF version

Author profile

J. Matthew Ladd President & COO, The Protection Bureau

J. Matthew Ladd is a member of Security-Net, a network of independent security systems integrators providing global support to customers.

In case you missed it

Ethical Consumption: Should You Buy Security Products ‘Made In China’?
Ethical Consumption: Should You Buy Security Products ‘Made In China’?

Should ‘Made in China’ be seen as a negative in security systems and products? It’s an important and complex issue that merits a more detailed response than my recent comment in the Expert Panel Roundtable. For me, there are two sides of the answer to this question: Buying products that have certain negative attributes that are not in alignment with some part of a belief system or company mandate. Buying products that do not perform as advertised or do something that is unacceptable. For integrators and end users making the buying decisions, the drive to purchase products may not be based on either aspect and instead on the product that can do the best job for their business. But for others, a greater emphasis on the ethical implications of purchasing decisions drives decision-making. What Is Ethical Consumption? Ethical consumption is a type of consumer activism that is based on the concept of ‘positive buying’ in that ethical products are favoredEthical consumption — often called ethical consumerism — is a type of consumer activism that is based on the concept of ‘positive buying’ in that ethical products are favored, and products that are ethically questionable may be met with a ‘moral boycott’. This can be as simple as only buying organic produce or as complex as boycotting products made in a totalitarian regime that doesn't offer its citizens the same freedoms that we enjoy in the United States. Consider the goals of the Boston Tea Party or the National Consumers League (NCL), which was formed to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. Some examples of considerations behind ethical consumption include fair trade, treatment of workers, genetic modification, locally made and processed goods, union-made products and services, humane animal treatment, and in general, labor issues and manufacturing practices that take these factors into account. Increase In Ethical Consumption The numbers show that ethical consumption is on the rise. In a 2017 study by Unilever, 33 percent of consumers reported choosing to buy and support brands that they believe are doing social or environmental good. In the same study, 53 percent of shoppers in the United Kingdom and 78 percent in the United States said they feel better when they buy products that are ‘sustainably’ produced. There’s clear evidence that products from some Chinese companies suffer from cybersecurity vulnerabilities Though the aforementioned question that sparked this conversation centers around concerns with products made in China, there are many other countries where, for example, governments/dictators are extremely repressive to all or parts of their populations, whose products, such as oil, diamonds, minerals, etc., we happily consume. There are also a number of countries that are a threat in terms of cybersecurity. It may be naive and simplistic to single out Chinese manufacturers. Impact On Physical Security Products Product buying decisions based on factors other than product functionality, quality and price are also starting to permeate the security marketplace. While this hasn't been a large focus area from the business-to-business consumption side, it's something that should be considered for commercial security products for a variety of reasons. Hardware hacks are more difficult to pull off and potentially more devastating" There’s clear evidence that products from some Chinese companies suffer from cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Last fall, 30 U.S. companies, including Apple and Amazon, were potentially compromised when it was discovered that a tiny microchip in the motherboard of servers built in China that weren't a part of the original specification. According to a Bloomberg report, “This attack was something graver than the software-based incidents the world has grown accustomed to seeing. Hardware hacks are more difficult to pull off and potentially more devastating, promising the kind of long-term, stealth access that spy agencies are willing to invest millions of dollars and many years to get.” This, along with many other incidents, are changing the considerations behind purchasing decisions even in the physical security industry. Given that physical security products in general have been lax on cybersecurity, this is a welcome change. Combating Tech-Specific Threats In early January, members of the U.S. Senate introduced bipartisan legislation to help combat tech-specific threats to national security posed by foreign actors and ensure U.S. technological supremacy by improving interagency coordination across the U.S. government. The bill creates the Office of Critical Technologies & Security at the White House, an indication that this issue is of critical importance to a number of players across the tech sector. Members of the U.S. Senate introduced bipartisan legislation to help combat tech-specific threats to national security posed by foreign actors To address a significant number of concerns around ethical production, there are certifications such as ISO 26000 which provides guidance on social responsibility by addressing accountability, transparency, ethical behavior, respect for stakeholder interests, respect for rule of law, respect for international norms of behavior and respect for human rights. While still emerging within physical security, companies that adhere to these and other standards do exist in the marketplace. Not Buying Products Vulnerable To Cyberattacks It may be counter-productive, even irresponsible, to brand all products from an entire country as unfit for purchasing. Some manufacturers’ products may be ethically questionable, or more vulnerable to cyberattacks than others; so not buying products made by those companies would make sense. The physical security industry might be playing a bit of catch up on this front, but I think we're beginning to see a shift toward this kind of responsible buying behavior.

Adapting servers for IP video surveillance systems: choosing the right solution
Adapting servers for IP video surveillance systems: choosing the right solution

Choosing the right server for a video surveillance application comes down to one question: What does the customer expect from the system? Is it a retail location with two cameras that only needs video stored for 24 hours? Does the system need failover protection? What are the ramifications if a system goes down? Does business have to stop? How fast does the customer need to have access to video? Is it a regulated industry where immediate access is a requirement? How mission-critical is the video system to operations?  Mission Critical Video Surveillance Solutions Such questions can point video system designers to the right technology for an application, and a manufacturer and reseller with a wide product offering ensure that the perfect solution is available and can be shipped quickly. It’s important to remember that this is not a “one size fits all” marketplace. Questions need to be asked on what an appropriate server solution will provide for the customer 1) JBOD - It stands for "just a bunch of disks" and refers to a collection of hard disks that have not been configured to work together. This approach is typical of stand-alone systems such as a retailer who has one or two cameras recording locally at a remote location, and who have a tolerance for occasionally losing video footage.  2) RAID 5/6 is a redundant array of independent disks in which data is stored across all the disks. The configuration provides more redundancy and reliability, better balance of disk usage, and more throughput and performance. RAID 5/6 is a redundant array of independent disks in which data is stored across all the disks 3) SAN or storage area network is a type of centralized storage providing enhanced accessibility to disk arrays. SAN provides high performance but is not as easy to expand. It is also less expensive than NAS systems.  4) NAS or network-attached storage is another type of centralized data storage. NAS systems are networked appliances containing storage drives. Benefits include faster data access, easier administration and simple configuration. NAS systems are easier to expand than SAN but provide less performance. NAS systems fit well in situations where customers have massive storage needs (or expect to in the future.) These are applications with lots of cameras and a need to retain high-frame-rate video for 180 days or longer. Typical uses include sports arenas, large cities, universities, corporate campuses and airports. Immediate Access To Video Highly available systems, such as SAN or NAS, are needed in any regulated industry. For example, in the cannabis grower market, an end user might need immediate access to video to show a compliance regulator. Gaming is another market in which immediate access to video is critical, and, for example, if a video system goes down at a table game, the gaming has to shut down, which is an expensive prospect to the casino. Therefore, reliability is critical. Video’s benefits beyond safety and security can also help to justify the costs of more expensive system Importance Of Video In Risk Mitigation In some instances, video is used primarily to manage risk, for example in litigation (or to avoid litigation) in a slip-and-fall claim or other court action. This is referred to as Loss Prevention. The ability to save thousands of dollars (or millions) by averting an expensive legal verdict can go a long way toward justifying the costs of systems.  Video’s benefits beyond safety and security, such as for marketing and business analytics, can also help to justify the costs of more expensive systems. Identifying The Right Video Server Equipment Offering a variety of choices, and adapting those systems to specific applications, ensures customer satisfaction “A tradeoff of cost and needed functionality is at the center of decisions when buying server systems for video applications,” says Tom Larson, Chief Technology Officer, BCDVideo. “Identifying specifically what the customer needs from the system, and how important it is to meet those needs, points to the right choice in video server equipment. "Various technologies have advantages and some downsides, and it is the customer’s need for those advantages (and tolerance for the downsides) that determines which server equipment is right for the job.” Offering a variety of choices, and adapting those systems to specific applications, ensures customer satisfaction. The systems builder can help integrators analyze the site and project requirements and translate those into the right equipment and networking choices. What does the customer need and how much are they willing to pay for it? The real determination is “how important is the video?”

How Biometrics, Integration And Cloud Tops The List Of Access Control Trends In 2019
How Biometrics, Integration And Cloud Tops The List Of Access Control Trends In 2019

The access control industry tends to be more conservative when it comes to the adoption of new technology and services for end users, but that doesn't mean that 2019 won't provide a significant amount of progress through emerging trends taking shape in the industry. In addition to the increased adoption and acceptance of the cloud, mobile credentials and biometrics are becoming more mainstream, and integrations between manufacturers will take centre stage. Here, we take a look at these and other trends helping to shape the coming year. Cloud-Based Products We're continuing to see a demand by end-user customers for customized responses to certain actions within an access control system For many access control manufacturers, the core of the business is in more traditional products, with a high percentage of installs continuing to be these kinds of projects. However, over the last couple of years, cloud-based products have emerged as a viable option for customers. We've seen more of a willingness for end-user customers to inquire whether this is an option for them, citing ease of use, remote management, cybersecurity and more as part of their foray into this branch of access control. The cloud has established its reputation as being quicker to install, more flexible for customers to access and manage both their access points as well as the video associated with these doors, and placing less pressure on internal (or in some cases, non-existent) IT teams to help set up and manage an access control system. Mobile Credentials Applications We're continuing to see a demand by end-user customers for customized responses to certain actions within an access control system. For example, if there's an alarm set off during the day along a perimeter, the ability to automatically execute a lockdown and simultaneous email or message to everyone within the building alerting them to the issue is critical. The desire for this kind of flexibility within a system is prompting manufacturers to build new simple to use graphical tools into their systems that allow customized action responses that are proportional to the level of alarm. There's a strong desire by many of today's companies to be able to use mobile phones for access control and as such, manufacturers are either developing their own mobile credentials applications or integrating their systems with these kinds of products. Over the last couple of years, cloud-based products have emerged as a viable option for customers Future Of Biometrics As companies start to ask about whether their facilities are safe enough, they're often more willing to consider access control that takes security to a new level, such as the implementation of biometric readers. Biometrics is getting more usage in professional security applications and many customers want to move away from using physical cards for access control. Manufacturers that don't currently have biometric hardware in place are starting to integrate with readers designed to offer this functionality in an effort to meet the demands of customers. The dramatic rise in facial recognition biometrics is something that will likely shape the future of biometrics as costs start to decrease. While the access control industry is highly fragmented, we're seeing a trend toward increased partnerships and open-platform technology that helps end users achieve the kind of comprehensive security that they desire. Video Management Platforms We're seeing a trend toward increased partnerships and open-platform technology that helps end users achieve the kind of comprehensive security that they desire For example, there are a number of access control providers that are providing paths toward full integration with lock manufacturers and vice versa in an effort to meet the needs of clients who may have purchased locks but a high powered access control system to properly manage them. There's also a large shift toward full integration with video management platforms and access control systems to fully integrate the two into a single, user-friendly experience and give end users more control over both. Additionally, manufacturers are looking to provide customers with a single system that meets the needs they have with regards to video, intrusion and access control. Right now, I don't think there's a system that can fully deliver on the promise of being exceptional at all three, so integrations and partnerships remain important to achieve that end goal. Access Control World An increasing number of end users are realising the holes in the current Wiegand protocols that have been in place since the 1980s, along with the large number of ‘off the shelf’ equipment that's now available to allow outsiders access through readers that operate under these protocols. As a result, in the last decade or so, OSDP has come onto the scene and is growing in popularity. One of the most important steps for access control manufacturers in 2019 will be to listen to customers who are concerned with this vulnerability and work toward fully supporting OSDP in an effort to protect these access control systems. It's an exciting time to be a part of the access control world, as we finally see results from all of the hype centred around the cloud, biometrics, mobile credentials, hacking protection and strong partnerships come to fruition. As 2019 begins, look for these trends to grow in popularity and for manufacturers to really listen to the end-user customer they serve and respond in kind.