Future trends of intelligent video usage in public transport

Large surveillance systems are often monitored manually today and security operators cannot view many video feeds at the same time. The level of concentration needed to keep an eye out for suspicious activities requires breaks and short intervals of work. In a market survey by international association of public transport UITP, one of the members stated having 22,000 cameras in a single surveillance system. How can this surveillance efficiency problem handled in a better way? What is the future in decision support for surveillance operators?  Is video analytics the way forward?


The UITP survey analyzes awareness, present usage and future interest in video analytics to aid the responders’ video surveillance work. The majority of responders is aware of video detection analytics for intrusion, perimeter breach, fire & smoke and rail track access. The same group of analytics range between 10-20% in actual usage amongst the responders already today. Future interest in these amongst the responders is high, approximately half of the responders have answered that they are interested in using them moving forward. Graffiti behavior detection was reported with less awareness than the group of analytics listed above but with high interest for future use by over half of responders. Face recognition is something that two thirds of responders is aware of but no responder reported using it today. For the future, more than half of the responders will want to use these applications moving forward.

Future trends and conclusions

There is a clear tendency towards network/IP cameras in terms of future investment, in particular up-and-coming analytics applications for specific issues such as graffiti behavior detection. On the other hand, legacy analogue cameras will continue to have an important presence in public transport systems for the foreseeable future.

Real-time usage with analytics is also on the rise as public transport systems seek to react to security events as and when they happen. With operators faced with hundreds of live feeds, alerts can assist in managing the large amount of data, helping with monitoring and prioritization. With incidents reported in real-time, there will be more opportunity for live feeds to be shared with third parties than is reported today. Despite this drive towards real-time network/IP solutions, recorded footage for review purposes is still very helpful and will remain widely used in the foreseeable future. In terms of regulation, local laws or rules for footage to be valid in court is very helpful as it gives assurance that the evidence can be used.

Other regulations in terms of usage, storage and so on vary widely from country to country depending on privacy and data protection laws. Laws certainly define the scope of how video surveillance is used in each place but rarely seems to be a barrier for public transport systems.

The survey clearly demonstrates that video surveillance is a widely used technology in public transport, for security but for other purposes too. It is a solution which is highly valued by staff as well as passengers. Public transport systems clearly intend to invest further in these technologies in the coming years, and the technology has huge potential to assist public transport organizations in real-time. Video surveillance will firmly remain a cornerstone technology in public transport.