MBTA awards contract to Safety Vision

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Safety Vision, a global provider of mobile digital video solutions, recently announced its Houston office has been awarded a $1.4 million contract to install onboard surveillance camera systems on 155 new buses for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. MBTA is the fifth-largest transit system in the United States, transporting 1.3 million passengers daily. The contract, partially funded by a Department of Homeland Security grant, was approved by the MBTA Board of Directors on April 5.

The project entails outfitting each new bus with eight mobile-rated digital cameras and a mobile digital video recorder: Safety Vision’s RoadRecorder 6000 PRO MDVR, the latest model in the company’s series of onboard digital surveillance recorders. The new system, which records video, audio and system health data in a secure, encrypted MPEG4 format, features more camera frames per second, tripled storage capacity on internal and external drives, wireless connectivity and streamlined data management, according to Safety Vision.

The RoadRecorder 6000 PRO MDVR operates within a mobile wireless network that enables transmission of live video feed from cameras installed on networked buses to laptops in MBTA police officers’ networked vehicles. This “look-in” capability allows first responders to view an onboard incident as it unfolds, live and in real time, allowing them to plan and execute their response tactics faster and smarter — enhancing the safety and security of passengers, officers and transit personnel alike, Safety Vision says.

The new contract follows a 10-bus pilot program initiated by MBTA and Safety Vision in 2006; in that program, only five cameras were installed per bus. “During the course of the program, MBTA Transit Police decided they wanted to optimize visibility with even greater coverage, so the new order puts eight cameras on each of the new buses — five interior cameras and three exterior cameras,” says Mike Schwerman, Safety Vision national account executive. Safety Vision says its RoadRecorder 6000 PRO MDVR is capable of recording video from up to 10 interior and exterior cameras.

“Our solution provides scalability with additional camera inputs and additional storage capability, plus a wireless component that will easily adapt to future technologies and to MBTA’s evolving requirements,” Schwerman says. “As with all our safety and security camera systems, we’ve designed this solution with simplicity and efficiency in mind, using the most sophisticated data recording, data compression and data management technologies available. Our primary goal is making it easy for MBTA and other transit properties to record, manage and archive high-quality video, audio and sensor data from their networked vehicles.”

Safety Vision says other major metropolitan areas — including Washington, D.C., Chicago and Portland, Ore. — also are using its onboard camera systems to increase operator safety, enhance public security, mitigate transit authorities’ risk and strengthen criminal prosecutors’ cases.