Baltimore Buses Keeping Watch With Wireless Video

About 130 new and retrofitted buses are equipped with wireless transmission power in Mobile DVRs from March Networks.
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Maryland Transit Administration runs 669 buses to serve the city of Baltimore. And until recently, staff has had to get on the bus and manually download footage from legacy video surveillance systems.

Now, about 130 new and retrofitted buses are equipped with wireless transmission power in mobile DVRs from Ottawa, Ontario-based March Networks. Footage is uploaded automatically as the buses return to their depots.

In tests conducted by the MTA, the MDVRs (model 5412) consistently downloaded 700 MB of video—the equivalent of one hour of video from 10 cameras on each bus—in less than five minutes. The systems enable operators to record video at 30 fps and stream the same video wirelessly from each camera at lower frame-rates for live viewing. Furthermore, the 5412 MDVRs store video for up to 30 days, enabling the MTA to satisfy a state mandate it was unable to achieve with its legacy system.

The MTA plans to have its entire bus fleet upgraded by March 2011.

In the future, the MTA plans to enable real-time video monitoring while buses are in service, taking advantage of the solution’s support for remote video access over GSM/CDMA/EVDO and WiMax mesh networks. The administration will work to provide law enforcement and Homeland Security agencies with access to the live video captured by cameras mounted both inside and outside of the buses to provide real-time surveillance in the case of an emergency or a security incident.

“The March Networks solution supports our plan to become one of the first transportation authorities in the United States to deploy a live, metro-wide surveillance capability using a state-of-the-art wireless mesh network. It has already significantly improved our ability to retrieve and store video and remotely monitor system health to ensure optimal performance,” said Tammi Bolden, manager of systems and equipment at MTA. “March Networks’ reputation for reliability, as well as its global footprint and vision, convinced us that this is the right company to partner with as part of our ongoing efforts to provide a secure environment for the public and our staff.”

The MTA’s fixed-route bus fleet serves 250,000 passengers daily in Baltimore.

March Networks will showcase its mobile video surveillance solution February 23 in Booth 202 at the 2010 TransITech Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

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