A new direction for UK transport: from forensic to real time

Lucas Young

With a number of high-profile attacks on mass transport systems across Europe, and Scotland Yard recently warning the UK’s terror threat level will remain at ‘severe’ for at least five more years, it is clear the industry cannot be complacent when it comes to security investment. While funding remains a challenge, it must be weighed up against the requirements for public transport authorities to provide both an efficient and safe service.

Taking action: rapid threat detection
Video surveillance in transporation
The shift away from legacy analogue CCTV technology to IP video solutions will enable UK critical transport networks to effectively deter, detect and delay threats to ensure passenger safety.

As per the three core principles prescribed by the UK Government’s Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) in protecting assets, firstly a threat should be deterred, then detected and then delayed. It is unlikely that a credible and organised threat will be deterred from a security system which is only able to provide a historical record of an attack. It must also be able to provide real-time detection and allow counter measures to be initiated in a timely manner.

While the international transport market continues to keep pace with the latest developments in real-time network camera technology, the UK has stagnated in its adoption. Despite plans for pan-network IP systems to be installed in many areas, and certain transport providers leading the way – customer story, significant parts of the UK transport infrastructure are still to be upgraded from analogue. This is partially due to the lack of a modern communications infrastructure, incapable of handling large amounts of data and preventing network users from making use of the solutions available today.

Looking beyond security: realising the benefits of IP

In a bid to understand the key challenges in upgrading to a networked solution, Axis commissioned a survey in collaboration with UITP, the global public transport organisation across stakeholders in areas such as rail, bus and ferry. With virtually all respondents saying they had some form of video surveillance installed, 85% also said they would consider IP cameras in the future. When asked about obstacles to upgrading, the most common response was the perceived “lack of a clear business case”. Three quarters of those same respondents had analogue cameras in place, suggesting more education is needed on the benefits of IP video systems beyond the forensic capabilities of CCTV.

While video surveillance technology is widely used in transport, the UK must accelerate its adoption of the latest IP technology if it is to keep pace with the rest of Europe. Educating key decision makers on the benefits of integrating systems to deliver real-time video and alerts will be key, demonstrating the operational and business intelligence benefits. Ultimately, in the form of a return on their investment, transport operators stand to gain from an enhanced ability to integrate IP cameras with business performance optimisation technology. This helps organisations derive long-term value from their investment, adapting and scaling it in line with not only security, but also more traditional operational business needs.

Learn more about the shift from forensic to real-time in transport in Axis’ latest white paper.