Maryland Transit opts for video surveillance system

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The MTA plans to install an advanced video surveillance program that is expected to improve security and cut costs.

The Maryland Transit Authority is stepping up security at selected rail stations with advanced video surveillance systems that provide real-time information to security personnel by alerting them to potential threats, such as intrusions into unauthorized areas or unattended luggage.

The state’s bustling transit network signed an $8.3 million contract with defense contractor Critical Solutions International to implement its Intelligent Video Surveillance Solution, according to a CSI statement. The solution will replace old analog cameras with digital technology and use Aralia’s surveillance and security software.

The software suite includes:

Advanced video surveillance, which provides features such as analytics, recording, viewing and rapid historical search for supervision of the stations. These features help pick up key details and reduce the consequences of human error.

A digital control room governs the relationship database, overseeing  security, alarm distribution, configuration and upgrades. Automatic alarms enable security staff to receive SMS or email notifications about a security breach, eliminating the need for constant monitoring.

Retrospective search conducts historical analysis of stored analytic metadata and allows for the timely retrieval of relevant closed-circuit television footage. Security personnel can search one year of recorded video per minute.

In addition to improving security, the software is also expected to cut the MTA’s staff requirements because multiple sites can be monitored from a single location.

The MTA is just the latest agency stepping up its use of video surveillance and analysis. As agencies try to increase security while containing costs, the technologies are receiving more attention – and even more after video analytics played a key role in helping reconstruct events leading to the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing. 

The U.S. Park Police upgraded its security with video after the 2009 presidential inauguration. The department worked with Axis Communications to install five new high-definition cameras around the National Mall for the 2013 inauguration to capture real-time images of activities. They were designed to pan through 360 degrees and tilt through 220 degrees, with the ability to focus on 100 preset positions.

Meanwhile, Baltimore’s CitiWatch video surveillance program has expanded over the past eight years from an initial installation of 50 standalone cameras to more than 600 networked closed-circuit cameras, providing live video feeds around the clock. The system collects and correlates data from different security devices and integrates it into a single user interface for security personnel. 

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