Denver Installs HD Surveillance on Bus Transit System

Robert Diaz, a public safety technician for Denver RTD Transit Police, answers a call while using the NICE video surveillance system to monitor transit system video in Denver, Colo. Photo credit: NICE Systems

The Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) Transit Police Division recently installed new security systems in the RTD’s bus fleet, including cameras supplied by Panasonic and mobile video recording and investigation solutions by NICE Systems. The mobile solution will significantly enhance RTD’s investigative efficiency by automatically offloading these video recordings and integrating them with various other video and audio sources to create a unified event timeline.

The system starts with the imaging devices, which include multiple models of Panasonic i-PRO network cameras. With 1080p and HD 720p HD network cameras inside and outside of each bus, integrated with other hardware and software components for recording, file transfer, viewing and management, the system delivers an end-to-end mobile security solution for the growing transportation agency.

The installation leverages NICE Systems NiceVision IP video management software and the NICE Inform platform to view and manage video files, and integrates them with various other video and audio sources and case files to create a unified event timeline. The multiphase deployment of the integrated solution across RTD’s new and existing fleet is ongoing.

WIRELESS OFFLOAD CAPABILITIES

A key benefit of the solution is the ability for RTD staff to quickly and wirelessly offload flagged video files associated with specific incidents from buses’ in-vehicle recorders. This eliminates the need to manually offload data and search through files when investigating an incident, saving the agency significant time and cost.

One of the Panasonic digital video recorders mounted in a bus (photo credit: NICE Systems)

The in-vehicle technology also includes the capability for public safety officials to view live footage from the buses’ cameras during an emergency, from up to a block away. By employing open-platform Panasonic i-PRO Mega Super Dynamic WV-SW155 compact dome cameras and i-PRO Super Dynamic WV-SW158 compact dome cameras with microphone capabilities, the solution delivers improved video quality and clarity as well as wider fields of view.

Designed for use in a transit environment, the vandal-resistant cameras are engineered to withstand shocks and impacts, and are IP66-rated water and dust resistant. Additionally, the in-vehicle recorders are equipped with anti-vibration mounts to ensure long-term performance, and cameras on buses’ exteriors are secured in shroud housings for added protection.

“With our former analog-based system, RTD Security had to physically retrieve hard drives from busses to investigate incidents an average of 25-30 times per day – a significant waste of time and resources. Video quality was also poor and sometimes unusable,” said Bob Grado, RTD Transit Police commander and manager of integrated security operations. “Working with Panasonic, we developed a high-quality solution from the ground up to address these issues and more importantly, to ensure the security of our bus system for our 101 million passenger trips a year.”

Grado also pointed out the benefits of the NICE recorders, as well as RTD’s long-term experience with the company’s products.

“We’ve used NiceVision for well over a decade to help secure our Park-n-Ride facilities as well as our light rail and bus transfer stations,” he said. “NICE has developed a solution that will now enable us to leverage the proven NiceVision IP video software on our buses while adding new capabilities to help us streamline thousands of annual investigations. I’m confident this solution is going to significantly improve our investigative capabilities and efficiency.”

AUTOMATIC DOWNLOADS

The solution enables automatic and immediate secure download of video recorded on any RTD bus upon arrival at a bus depot. This is a significant improvement over RTD’s previous process which involved manually retrieving video from hard disks or DVRs.

Requested video is also automatically uploaded into a case management file in NICE Inform, where it can be combined with voice recordings and video from fixed surveillance video cameras to create a seamless incident timeline. Reports can be appended as well. Among the solution’s benefits are: significantly improved efficiency, collaboration, video quality, and data security; as well as the ability to combine multiple sources of video/audio for more thorough investigations.

View from one of the Panasonic dome cameras

“We are pleased to help RTD meet its security needs with an innovative video recording and investigation solution. This reinforces the success of our past implementations and strengthens our ongoing relationship with RTD,” said Yaron Tchwella, president of the NICE Security Group. “This new initiative also illustrates the types of benefits that mass transportation agencies can achieve by deploying the NICE integrated security solutions portfolio across their transit systems.”

“RTD faced a significant challenge, as its ridership base is rapidly growing, but its aging mobile surveillance system could not keep up – with a rapidly increasing failure rate, an inefficient video offload process and poor video quality,” said Greg Peratt, senior director for Panasonic’s Video Solutions Integration Team. “With our rich experience as a public sector technology provider, Panasonic is uniquely positioned to partner with RTD to build a solution that meets their needs, and we look forward to seeing it deliver the results they’re looking for.”

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