Like most agencies, passenger safety and security – not to mention staff safety and security – are major priorities for Transport for Greater Manchester. Transport for Greater Manchester in northwest England serves the greater Manchester area and provides bus and train services, bus stations and the Metrolink tram network.
TfGM funds video surveillance systems at each station in multiple boroughs. The addition of visible cameras at the stations has helped to deter crime and bus shelter vandalism. In fact, crime and vandalism dropped by nearly 20 percent the year after TfGM installed the video surveillance cameras. While the surveillance systems were making a difference, it was not a perfect solution. Each transport terminal project selected its own video surveillance solution – a total of 30 different closed-circuit television (CCTV) islands, each managed and maintained separately.
Transport for Greater Manchester partnered with Cisco to create a centralized system that would enhance passenger safety and security, minimize equipment and operations costs and prepare for future safety and security technologies. The project is being done in three phases. Phase one began in August 2009 and was completed in August 2010. The second phase began shortly there after in October 2010 and was completed in November 2011. Phase three will begin in April 2012 and includes the installation of 800 more cameras. It's anticpated that the final phase will be completed in October 2012.
“The previous systems were a mixture of analogue legacy systems put in at various times and not-interoperable with one another. They needed to have central control via a single desktop client, and for that client to be web-based as it meant they did not need to place servers at each station location,” explains Graham Porter, Safety & Security Solutions manager at Cisco.
Porter says the new system consists of high definition Cisco cameras with analytics on the edge loaded onto the camera itself to reduce network traffic; PoE cameras to reduce the need for on-site electrical installation works; server-based storage; Cisco Video Surveillance Manager software as commissioning and configuration application; and a third Party industry standard mapping interface for icon-based camera selection and video wall control.
Porter explains that getting TfGM employees up to speed on the new system didn’t take much.
“The simple training was web-based and required a 2 hour training workshop carried out locally. The feedback received focused on the ease of use and the ability of the operators to use the system without complex bespoke training.”
The improved surveillance system seems to be working, too. “The Greater Manchester Police are recording an average of five arrests per week in their reduction of incidents of aggressive begging, anti-social behavior and vandalism,” Porter says.
Not only is the security system helping to deter and prevent crime, it’s providing better evidence when crimes do occur. “The police commented that they were delighted with the unprecedented image quality and ease of evidence export with Day-Date onto DVD on client machines.”
Comparing the old system to the new system Porter says, “Some were ineffective and none were high definition. None of the legacy systems were web-based, so the new Cisco system allowed client machines access via Internet Explorer for the first time — so the new system gave the police and operators access to the evidence video from remote client devices without the need for on-site attendance, saving travel and time, while access to evidence could be expedited in most cases as a result of these changes.”