transport safety

Passenger- and staff-safety has always been a prime concern of public-transport operators and authorities. Over twenty five years ago now new technologies allowed ITS to be brought to bear on public-transport safety. Ever since that moment safety itself has gone through a veritable revolution. In the case of buses, for example, there was previously no contact apart from a radio voice connection between driver and controller. Under the first fleet-management systems drivers were able to send a silent, button- or pedal-triggered alarm to the control center or open up voice communication by ambient microphone, allowing the controller to hear what was happening inside the vehicle. This system has been kept on in modern fleet-management systems, albeit reinforced with other more advanced systems such as onboard video surveillance (CCTV).

CCTV systems have a long track record as safety items in buildings and other non-moving structures. A series of idiosyncrasies, however, hindered their takeup in vehicles until the last ten years. These idiosyncrasies are:

  • At the moment when the driver presses the emergency button to report an incident, a real-time image has to be sent to the control center. The use of mobile communications makes bandwidth a crucial feature here. Today’s 4G networks now enable stable, top-quality video streaming but the fact that the vehicle is moving means that certain drawbacks still have to be dealt with, such as signal loss, bandwidth loss, etc. The systems therefore have to be prepared to cope with these changeable factors.
  • Fitting the equipment onboard the vehicles calls for special clearance for vibration resistance, electromagnetic compatibility, temperature range, anti-vandalism, etc. These certifications are especially strict in the case of railway transport.
  • In the case of cameras it is also necessary to meet a series of other requisites in terms of size (small), high dynamic range to cope with changing light conditions and a wide field of view. Today’s camera manufacturers now have an ample catalogue of specific in-vehicle cameras, whether on buses or trains.
  • Onboard direct video recording (DVR) systems, which initially were mere adaptations of traditional analog DVRs, have by now become highly specialized for ITS used, incorporating SSD disks integratable with IP-networks together with the cameras. In some cases, such as GMV’s inhouse REC30, this DVR equipment also incorporates fleet-management and CCTV functions in a single device.

Today’s public transport fleets now include these systems as a standard ITS input, ensuring the safety of passengers and drivers. Their most notable advantages include continuous recording of what is happening inside the vehicle, real-time broadcasting of any incident, all duly referenced to vehicle, line, route and current position.

GMV was a trailblazer in fitting CCTV systems; its first project of this type dates back to 2007 on TUVISA’s night-time “buho” buses in Vitoria; by now we have fitted up over 4000 vehicles, taking in buses, subway trains, overground trains and trams.


Autor: Isidro Prieto Valderrey

Las opiniones vertidas por el autor son enteramente suyas y no siempre representan la opinión de GMV
The author’s views are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of GMV
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