Video Surveillance & Physical Security Industry Viewpoints
September 22nd, 2021
Author: Lizzi Goldmeier

Driving Efficiencies Across Multiple Sites for Ferry and Transit Managers

Visualize Business Intelligence from Multiple Sites

To optimize efficiencies in operations, security, and planning, transportation organizations need actionable, quantifiable data about security incidents, demographics, and pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Whether they are port authorities for rail, air, and marine travel, the data serves a variety of purposes, from planning infrastructure or construction projects, to preparing for major events, refining marketing strategies, enhancing security, or planning staff schedules for peak holiday travel periods. One challenge is that transit organizations typically oversee multiple terminals, stations, maintenance facilities, parking facilities, restaurants, and retail areas. Given that these multiple sites are often geographically dispersed, it is difficult to collect and aggregate business intelligence from multiple sites, and deliver it to a centralized dashboard.

Leverage Video Surveillance with Video Content Analytics

One technology tool that transit hubs can leverage to collect data across sites is video surveillance (CCTV), if they complement it with video content analytics software. Transit agencies typically use CCTV cameras to monitor areas in real-time, and to collect video evidence for security purposes. However, video footage contains valuable information that can be leveraged for many purposes above and beyond physical security. In the absence of video content analysis, most video footage is never reviewed or utilized, because manual reviewing video footage requires so much staff time, and human observation is prone to error. Overall, it is impossible for human observation to comprehend and analyze all of the objects, events, and behaviors that video cameras capture.

Video analytics software that is powered by Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning makes video data searchable, actionable and quantifiable. The technology identifies, classifies and indexes objects detected in surveillance video, so that searches can be conducted based on a variety of filters, such as men, women, children, vehicles, face recognition, license plate recognition, speed, direction, and dwell time. The software can be used to accelerate security investigationstrigger real-time alerts, and create visual heatmaps and dashboards to facilitate informed business decisions. Video footage can be analyzed in real-time or on-demand.

Site-Specific and Multi-Site Analytics

A video analytics system can aggregate data at unique sites, and it can deliver cross-site intelligence from multi-sites, whether it is related to user demographics, footfall, traffic, or navigation trends. Management teams can have video analytics operators oversee one or more sites in a transit network, and have an operator stationed at a centralized command center. Operators at each site can customize their real-time alerts, and receive the alerts directly to respond to current situations. To get a “big picture” overview, video analytics operators at a central command center can receive reports that aggregate the real-time alerts from all locations.

Track Traffic Patterns and Volumes

Where do passengers congregate? What times of day are peak usage periods? Are there consistent traffic hotspots in some pedestrian, bicycle, or vehicle lanes? With heatmaps that visualize traffic patterns, and people-count and object count capabilities, video analytics answers these questions, and more. Planners need such data to examine current traffic and to forecast future traffic, especially if they are planning to build new terminals and ports, start new services, or expand existing facilities and services. Heatmaps illustrate navigational pathways, enabling management teams to see which parts of a transit facility are most or least utilized. Transit managers can create customized dashboards that illustrate peak travel times/days, so they can make data-driven decisions about scheduling and services.

To give another example, ferry operators can use video analytics to understand traffic trends aboard different vessels at different times of day, and compare the reports from different sites. Management teams can then use that data to make better, more intelligent decisions about which services operate most efficiently compared to others, where to assign staff, when to schedule transit service, how to configure traffic patterns, and where to place signage. Airport managers can assess occupancy and traffic patterns, and formulate data-driven strategies to alleviate bottlenecks in the check-in experience. Business development managers can quantify the value of a retail space in a port or terminal by quantifying the volume of foot traffic that passes by the space, and apply those insights to optimize layout, store location, leasing and pricing strategies.

Gather Demographics Data

To provide better services that satisfy constituents, and improve marketing outreach to target audiences it is essential that marketing and planning management teams understand who uses a transit system (men, women or children), how many people use it, when they use it, and how often they use it. Video intelligence systems can provide that visitor demographic data, and discern between unique, return and bounced traffic, by anonymously recognizing unique identities across cameras.

Collect Security Data

Video intelligence software is widely used by security teams so they can quickly and accurately review video footage for post-incident investigations, and search for and pinpoint the objects or behaviors that are most relevant. For example, if a ferry operation needs to review footage to investigate possible mishandling of baggage or cargo, the analytics operator can conduct a granular search for items that match a particular description. Video analytics also improves real-time situational awareness through the use of real-time alerts, which can notify managers whenever a customized threshold has been exceeded. For example, if an unusually large crowd forms at a transit station platform, the analytics system people-count alert can be triggered to notify the video analytics operator, who can then notify the security manager who can then assess and respond as needed. Similarly, an analytics system can record and track illegal traffic violations (such as U-turns) or if a person or object is dwelling for an unusually long time in an area such as a platform or dock.

Make Data-Driven Decisions

Video intelligence software transforms video footage into easy-to-understand, comprehensive business intelligence. Data can be collected from multiple sites and delivered via centralized dashboards, all while significantly reducing video processing bandwidth requirements. Transit authorities can use this quantifiable data to answer critical operational and business questions, drive intelligent planning, inform their decision making, and measure and achieve KPIs. As a result, they can tap the valuable data that lies buried in video footage and optimize their security, operations, marketing, and passenger services functions.