NS, the largest rail operator in the Netherlands, carrying more than one million passengers every day, was keen to enhance the security measures at its disposal to provide the safest possible environment for its staff and passengers. In particular, NS wanted to be able deal more readily with aggressive behaviour a key concern for those travelling on its trains, reduce the level of vandalism and, crucially, facilitate the detention and ultimate conviction of the perpetrators.
NS turned to Dedicated Micros and its TransVu a digital video recorder - specifically designed for transport applications - to conduct a mobile CCTV surveillance trial, continuously monitoring the inside of carriages. Initially TransVu units were installed in 8 Sprinter type trains on the busy Zoetermeer Stadslijn (City Line), each featuring 14 cameras and 2 recorders.
In operation TransVu is capable of multiplexing and recording up to 8 cameras, whilst multi-channel audio recording can be used to store relevant voice information and the associated images from multiple points in a train - especially useful in incidents of staff or passenger abuse. As TransVu is a digital system different record rates can be applied to specific cameras, this ‘variable rate’ recording means that cameras can be prioritized in the recording sequence.
Applied as an overt measure, with the cameras in public view, DM believes that mobile CCTV solutions provide a significant deterrent to criminal damage and deliver much needed reassurance to the travelling public.
This positive benefit was certainly reflected in the results of the initial NS trial of the TransVu system which found that 60% of commuter train passengers felt safer with digital recorders and cameras
installed. Train staff also believed that their working environment (and that for the travelling public) had improved and urged the CCTV surveillance to be expanded to all trains on the Zotetermeer Stadslijin line. The bottom-line figures were impressive with damage due to vandalism plummeting by 45% from 140,000 to 80,000 Euro. During the test period video recordings were reviewed on several occasions, assisting the police and the train operator to solve a number of incidents.
The advantages of the TransVu system were also brought into focus when the trial ended, helping the authorities to apprehend arsonists - who had set fire to a train at Den Haag Central station - as a result of the quality of images collected from cameras on a Zoetermeer Stadslijin line train.
Significantly, the success of the trial has lead to the expansion of the TransVu solution to every double train on the Dutch route 18 in total providing NS with a powerful security tool to tackle the day-to-day
headaches of vandalism and assaults on passengers and staff.
Future enhancements of the TransVu solution at NS are likely to include the use of broadband spectrum transceivers to supply real-time information on a train's operational environment back to a control station.
At a wider level, TransVu has proved to be an attractive proposition for train and bus operators across the Benelux region.