Ushering Railway Transit Security into the Internet Age

The importance of the developmental role played by railroads globally cannot be understated. In many ways, the cultural and economic impacts of railway networks since their widespread adoption in the 19th century is analogous to the role played by the networks of the Internet in the 20th century. The railways, like the Internet, have made the world a “smaller” place, enabling increased trade and communication with previously inaccessible or unchartered territories; bringing people and communities together, and driving innovation everywhere.

There is a temptation to look upon rail as the transit technology of a bygone era. But the railroad, like the Internet, is here to stay for the foreseeable future. According to data from the American Public Transportation Association, annual public transit ridership numbers in 2013 were the highest recorded in 57 years – an increase of more than 37 percent since 1995. However, the increased usage of rail transit in the modern era comes with challenges of its own.

Neatly, though, another major difference between 1995 and now has been the widespread adoption IP-based communications. And railroads have played their part in the adoption of IP-based technologies, not least in the area of security and safety.

Video surveillance and IP installations play a significant role in addressing the evolving needs of the transit market. In recent years, the shift from analog to IP-based systems has paved the way for integrated IP-based mobile video surveillance solutions. Mobile DVRs with hard drives operating alongside analog cameras have moved to mobile NVRs with network connectivity. This provides ease of use, reliability and greater accessibility to recorded video.

4K 360⁰ surveillance cameras are ideal for railway networks. They provide 4K image quality across a wide area because of a fish eye lens and is vandal-proof, making them suitable for installation outdoors. Furthermore, fewer cameras are necessary to maintain a complete surveillance overview. Even in low light, the camera supplies crisp and clear images.

When a train is in motion, specialized security cameras can people count and map, providing accurate data to passengers at the next station can know which carriage to wait for. This can help reduce departure delays and ultimately increase customer satisfaction.

Additionally, by using the analytics software embedded within security cameras, an alarm can be generated to inform station management if people are too close to the edge of the platform. This could also be an automatic, audible warning for waiting passengers to take a step back. And, by having the ability to predefine restricted or problem areas using the analytics inside the security cameras, it is possible to track if there are people hiding or waiting in areas which are not secure.

In cases of national security, the system can be uploaded with possible suspect faces and facial recognition software can be used to track and find these suspects if they use the railway system. Furthermore, the in-camera analytics can be preset to trigger an alarm if a package or item of luggage is left unmoved.

Transit networks are increasingly complex ecosystems that demand solutions rather than products. More transit networks than ever before are turning to complete safety and security solutions.