Western Cape Business News

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SECURITY: Improving Safety and Operational Efficiency on Public Transport with CCTV and Remote Monitoring


Recent Western Cape Business News

WITH A growing population and an increased requirement for people to travel significant distances to their places of work or education, public transport is an essential service for economic stability and sustainability. However, despite significant investment by government into improving public transport infrastructure, these services will never be utilised to maximum capacity if the safety and security of passengers cannot be assured. Crime is an unfortunate reality that needs to be addressed to ensure commuters are safe, and CCTV with remote monitoring offers the ideal solution. Not only can CCTV enable active monitoring to minimise or prevent theft and injury, it also offers operational benefits that can help the public transport sector improve efficiencies writes Laurence Smith.

Crime is one issue that deters many people from using public transport instead of their own private vehicle, and this needs to be addressed. One of the most frequently occurring crimes on public transport is theft, with pickpockets common particularly on crowded buses and trains. Unruly passenger behaviour is also a challenge, with drunkenness, fighting and violence resulting in an unpleasant experience for other passengers, as well as potential injury or even fatalities. These issues are not unique to South Africa, however, they do need to be addressed to ensure that commuters are safe.

The most effective deterrent for crime is surveillance, and CCTV solutions that can be installed on board public transport vehicles are now widely available. Not only does a surveillance system help to identify incidents and perpetrators, it can also discourage people from undesirable behaviours, as the passengers are aware that they are being monitored on camera. Key to the usefulness of such solutions is the ability to ensure live remote monitoring, so that incidents can be identified straight away and correct remedial or emergency action taken. For example, emergency services like police and ambulance can be contacted and vehicles stopped to immediately address the issue. Criminals can then be apprehended before they are able to escape, and medical assistance can be rendered where necessary. It is also possible to install panic buttons both in the driver’s cab and in the passenger areas, so that the people on board the vehicle can alert security to potential issues.

Aside from the security and safety-enhancing benefits of CCTV and remote monitoring, these solutions can also be harnessed to improve operational efficiency. For example, should an accident occur, recorded footage can be reviewed to understand incidents and provide evidence of what occurred. This can be beneficial for insurance claims, as well as for reducing liability and providing evidence in the case of legal dispute. Driver behaviour can also be monitored for unsafe practices such as drinking and driving, as well as behavioural or other problems. Furthermore, passenger flow, payments, traffic patterns and so on can be monitored, helping transport companies to better understand and therefore optimise the services they offer.

The key to harnessing the benefits of proactive surveillance and monitoring is a solution that can be utilised even in areas where mobile coverage may be scant. Transmitting high-resolution footage that requires 3G or LTE coverage is of limited benefit, as footage will cease to be sent in areas without this coverage. It is also a costly exercise since mobile broadband is still relatively expensive. Solutions need to be able to make use of the lowest possible data connection and stream at minimal rates as low as 8 kilobits per second (kbit/s). This ensures full coverage as well as reduced data costs, making remote CCTV surveillance a viable option.

CCTV surveillance solutions with live and proactive remote monitoring are a critical element in maximising usage of public transport in South Africa, which itself is essential in relieving traffic congestion and ensuring everyone can get to school or work every day. Not only do they improve safety and security by acting as an effective crime deterrent, they can help to ensure perpetrators are apprehended, and improve many areas of operations as well. Increased security ensures peace of mind for commuters, making public transport a more desirable option for more individuals.

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