Public transport and the cloud solutions to help manage health and safety

29 Sep 2020

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring the safety of passengers and staff aboard public transport has been an ongoing concern. As people have slowly returned to the workplace, the inevitable rise in commuter levels, coupled with a need for stronger infection control protocols, is putting a further strain on the transport system.

Alongside the management of passenger flow and the security of vehicles and transport hubs, transport officials now need to ensure that health and safety protocols are followed. These include the enforcement of social distancing measures and mask-wearing polices. This is where advances in digital surveillance technologies can provide much needed help and support, enhancing security, improving operations and supporting customer facing teams.

Occupancy management

The advantages of cloud-based physical security systems are many, and have wide ranging applications for all areas of the transport sector. When used to support staff and complement existing processes, such systems can prove invaluable for transport professionals. The creation of a safer working environment promotes confidence among personnel and passengers, while the presence of cameras and sensors, even from a purely aesthetic perspective, can serve to assure passengers who are fearful about the current pandemic that all possible precautions are being taken during their journey.

Monitoring the movement of staff and passengers is an essential part of being able to maintain a safe operation. Surveillance cameras positioned at entrances and exit points, as well as at key areas within transport terminals and on the transport mode itself enables occupancy thresholds to be determined, ensuring that passenger numbers do not exceed safe limits. Network surveillance cameras, accessed via mobile device, can enable transport officials to check passenger flow in real-time, while live alerts serve to warn that health and safety protocols are being breached, whereupon security or operations personnel can be sent to intervene.

Improving security

Such technologies, interconnected and able to share data, can be used to more effectively report in real time on activity that threatens to have an adverse effect on passengers, staff and the transport environment. Significant parts of the rail network are relatively unmonitored, and inevitably these areas are more vulnerable to vandalism. Similarly, on bus services, abuse of passengers and staff, and acts of criminal behaviour remain a concern. By alerting security staff to a developing situation before it occurs, an incident can be dealt with quickly, minimising disruption to transport services.

Through internet of things (IoT) connectivity, additional devices can be easily added to complement the surveillance solution and unlock further benefits. Network audio speakers can be triggered to play pre-recorded messages to alert or inform passengers. Similarly, frictionless access control, enabling customers and staff to move ‘hands-free’ through gateways and ticket checkpoints to avoid viral spread, is made possible by having an access reader which is activated, for example, via QR codes on a mobile phone. And when access readers are integrated with surveillance cameras, this will act as a second layer of authentication to grant or refuse access based on valid staff credentials.

A future proof solution

Cloud based technology can be relied on to not only help improve current services, but also to help transport officials plan for the security challenges of the future. Software upgrades and firmware updates ensure the system is always up to date and operational, while simple customisation and easy scalability result in a future proof solution which is capable of bringing peace of mind to the transport industry.

In a busy world where the demands on our rail and bus networks are now impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and indeed the possibility for further related challenges in the future, such cloud-connected technologies represent a worthwhile investment.