Electronic Design

Intelligent Video Surveillance Goes Trainspotting

Like airports, municipal mass transit systems are on constant lookout for suspicious individuals. After the London tube and bus bombings in July 2005, recorded surveillance video allowed authorities to identify the perpetrators behind the attacks.

But transit officials these days are primarily interested in defusing terrorist assaults before they can happen. When officials in Stockholm, Sweden, began planning video surveillance technology for the city's mass transit system, they knew from the outset that they wanted an automated and integrated system that could analyze video in real time.

"We will equip 100 of our tube stations with cameras, 14 of our commuter train lines, and all 2000 of our buses," says Henrik Virro, project manager for Stockholm Lokaltrafik, the city's mass transit agency. The 6000-camera system, which is scheduled for deployment later this year, will send video signals to servers for instantaneous processing by Visual Defence's software.

The new video analytics system, for starters, will help Lokaltrafik reduce vandalism on its tracks. The system is designed to generate an alarm the instant it detects someone on the tracks. A central console provides operators with pre-programmed workflow instructions for responding to alarms.

"In Stockholm, we're doing video analytics specifically to detect people on the track," says Michael Godfrey, Visual Defence's CTO. "But, just as simply, it can detect things like graffiti, vehicles stopped in the wrong location, or, at night, people in a closed station."

"We will hopefully save a few lives as well," says Virro.

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