Government Technology

Jacksonville, Florida, Transportation Authority Installs Wireless Camera System

April 12, 2009 By

To increase the safety and security of Skyway train passengers, the Jacksonville (Fla.) Transportation Authority (JTA) is installing a new video surveillance system in its trains and stations that wirelessly connects in real time to a centralized command center.

The Skyway train operation is an automated monorail located in downtown Jacksonville that consists of eight stations and 10 trains that each have two cars.

According to Kenneth Williams, manager of Skyway operations, the previous surveillance system in the trains had one camera in each car, but passengers could sit behind it and avoid being recorded. The system was also recorded by VCR technology, and the tapes usually had lines blurring the recordings that made it difficult to identify people.

Now two cameras are being deployed in each train car -- one on each end -- so all passengers are viewable. Each station is equipped with four to eight cameras to provide full coverage of the area. The recordings are saved to a digital video recorder (DVR); each train and station has its own DVR.

So far the system is up and running in the train stations, and will be fully deployed in the trains by the end of the month, Williams said.

The system was funded by a federal grant and costs approximately $430,000, which included the video wall, server, DVRs and cameras.

According to Williams, two workers operate the command center at a time. One person watches the video surveillance, and the other controls the power and speaks with passengers via an intercom.

Apollo Video Technology provided the system, and Williams said the company's software was easy to use. He also said deploying the technology was a twofold effort. "Apollo came in and assessed what we needed to do," he said. "And immediately what they did was installed the DVRs into the stations and loaded software onto the control operators stations; that took about one week."

The next part involved adding the video wall to the command center and the cameras and DVRs to the trains, which took about 90 days.

The video is wirelessly transmitted to the command center and retained on the hard drive for 30 days. However, Williams said the time length depends on what size hard drive is purchased.

The surveillance system has already aided in keeping the train stations safe. Williams said the operators viewed a group of people who were shooting at each other with what turned out to be BB guns -- however, to the operators they looked like regular guns. They called the police, and the people were arrested.

The video has also helped the JTA review complaints placed by passengers. Williams said a woman complained that she fell on the train, but officials reviewed video footage and saw that she was seated the whole time.

In the future, the technology will be added to other forms of transportation supported by the JTA, like buses. Williams said the organization receives many claims from bus passengers, and it would like a way to review the issues.

Williams said the JTA is conducting a demo on one bus, and so far the results have been positive. The widespread bus deployment will begin by April 2009 and will use cellular card technology to transmit the surveillance to a command center.

| More


Add Your Comment

You are solely responsible for the content of your comments. We reserve the right to remove comments that are considered profane, vulgar, obscene, factually inaccurate, off-topic, or considered a personal attack.

In Our Library

White Papers | Exclusives Reports | Webinar Archives | Best Practices and Case Studies
Public Safety 2019
Motorola conducted an industry survey on the latest trends in public safety communications. The results provide an outlook of what technology is in store for your agency in the next five years. Download the results to gain this valuable insight.
Improving Emergency Response with Digital Communications
Saginaw County, Mich., increases interoperability, communication and collaboration with a digital voice and data network, as well as modern computer-aided dispatch.
Reduce Talk Time in Your Support Center by 40%
As the amount of information available to citizens and employees grows each year, so do customer expectations for efficient service. Contextual Knowledge makes information easy to find, dropping resolution times and skyrocketing satisfaction.
View All

Featured Papers