MARTA officially launched a pilot program of buses equipped with surveillance cameras that will later be expanded to its entire fleet of passenger vehicles.
Seven buses on randomly chosen routes have cameras strategically positioned on the interior and exterior to record high-quality video and audio. Each bus has 11 cameras; three outside and eight inside. There's also a 17-inch, full-color monitor mounted behind the driver that lets customers view themselves and their surroundings in real-time.
The Vehicle Security Camera System (VSCS) will capture and store images, audio and vehicle data that can help MARTA Police investigate crimes and which could prove useful in resolving customer complaints and settling accident claims.
"MARTA is dedicated to ensuring that all reasonable measures are taken to secure the safety of customers and employees," said MARTA Police Chief Wanda Dunham. "We are confident that this investment will provide an additional layer of protection and will act as a highly visible deterrent against operator assaults and crime.
The MARTA Board of Directors approved the $17 million system last year. Recently, however, the federal Department of Homeland Security awarded MARTA with a $9 million grant that will help defray the cost. The grant is part of the "See Something, Say Something" public awareness campaign sponsored by DHS to counter terrorist attacks and other criminal activity nationwide.
MARTA's VSCS is considered one of the most advanced and comprehensive of its kind for a major transit agency in the United States. The state-of-the-art system was designed and manufactured by Apollo Video Technology (www.apollovideo.com). Located in the Seattle area, the company is an industry leader in video surveillance and fleet management solutions.
After the pilot program ends in November, camera installation will begin on MARTA's remaining fixed-route bus fleet and is scheduled for completion by June 2013. Starting next April, cameras will be installed on MARTA rail cars. Mobility vans should be outfitted with cameras by July 2013 and VSCS installation on all of MARTA's "rolling stock" is expected to be finished by July 2014.