At-station surveillance


ITS supported Surveillance at Stations (terminals and bus-stops) is provided for both safety and security.

In contrast to the In-vehicle Surveillance, high bandwidth connections can transmit images from the CCTV cameras to control centres and other locations. There may be many stations, each with many cameras. This provides many opportunities for surveillance, but also presents some content management and prioritisation issues.

Surveillance functions and objectives at stations and stops include:

  • Allow stations managers, control centre and security personnel to observe and respond to security events and potential threats, the main ones being:
    • Assaults on station personnel
    • Assaults on passengers
    • Threatening behaviour and congregation of people that may result in violence
    • Vandalism and damage/impairment of transit equipment
    • Theft and pickpocketing
    • Suspicious loitering
  • Allow stations managers, control centre and dispatchers to observe and respond to operational problems or threats at stations and stops, the main ones being
    • Build up of lengthy queues, overall or for specific routes
    • Crowding in areas of the station or bus stop
    • Crushing in the vicinity of turnstiles or other constricted passageways
    • Encroachment of passengers onto the running way
    • Vehicle breakdowns in the station/stop area
    • Unauthorised vehicle parking/stopping in the station/stop area, including by other routes or out of service vehicles of the transit operator
    • Defective equipment or damaged infrastructure
    • Fare evasion
  • Record images from the CCTV systems for:
    • investigation of incidents and crime
    • use as evidence in Court
    • analysis of the dynamics of the station/stop, including how particular incidents such as crowding build up
    • training of station and operations personnel
    • assistance to design teams

Where there are many cameras and stations, the images may be displayed on a bank of screens at a Control Centre. The images can also be fed to station managers, CAD/AVM dispatchers and other authorised users.

Technologies, data and resources

The main technologies used for at-station surveillance are:

  • CCTVs, usually with PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) or equivalent capability
  • Communications, usually land lines and fibre-optic by choice, due to bandwidth requirements
  • Viewing screens at control centre
  • Image management software
  • Image and data storage and archiving

Advantages and Cautions

The primary advantages of At-Stop Surveillance are to:

  • Provide continuous and comprehensive monitoring of station interiors and immediate surrounds
  • Assist the transit authority/operator to detect and respond to security incidents and threats, thus improving security and sense of safety among passengers
  • Assist the transit authority/operator to detect and respond to operational problems, and to deploy personnel where required
  • Record events for later review, including analysis of how operational and security events develop
  • Gather presentable evidence for use in court

The principal cautions in relation to At-Stop surveillance are:

  • The large number of cameras and the large volume of continuous data and image streams need to be well structured and managed.
  • Operatives need to be trained in what to observe
  • Care needs to be taken to avoid CCTV operatives becoming passive observers of the images
  • Continuity of evidence rules need to be understood, and compliant procedures established for capture, storage and handling of images and information. Failure to do so is likely to result in evidence being inadmissible in Court.
  • Costs of maintaining CCTV systems can be high

Relevant Case Studies