Lesson

Incorporate diagnostic tools to identify and verify problems in the transmission of video in a transit bus security system.

Experience from iFlorida Model Deployment


01/30/2009
Orlando,Florida,United States


Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

The LYNX, the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority, operates a public transportation system in Orlando. The FDOT viewed the LYNX Bus Security project, completed in 2005, as a technical proof of concept that would indicate the feasibility and cost of using a broadband wireless network to support transmission of surveillance video on mobile assets, such as a bus. One part of the iFlorida Model Deployment established network connectivity between the FDOT ITS network and the LYNX Command Center. This provided LYNX with network connectivity to roadside locations in many areas in which it operated buses. The LYNX Bus Security project took advantage of this connectivity by deploying a wireless network along a 14-mile stretch of I-4 between Orlando and the Disney World attractions. This wireless network bridged the gap between LYNX buses and this roadside network. Buses that used this portion of I-4 were then equipped with security cameras and wireless equipment for transmitting video from these cameras to FDOT and LYNX. Lessons learned include:
  • Incorporate diagnostic tools to identify and verify problems in the transmission of video in a transit bus security system. The deployment of the LYNX Bus Security System occurred with few surprises and was completed in the fall of 2005. RTMC operators reported receiving high-quality video images from buses while on the instrumented portion of I-4. However, they found it difficult to consistently verify that the system was operating correctly. Buses were on the instrumented portion of I-4 at regular but infrequent intervals. RTMC operators periodically checked the system to see if video was present as a method for gauging whether the system was working. Without knowledge of when the buses were present, the lack of video could be caused by either the system working incorrectly or the fact that no buses were present on the instrumented portion of I-4. As time went on, it became apparent that the system was not working reliably, and FDOT reported in May 2006 that the system had been out-of-service for several months. Also, the cost of the system was relatively high-about $640,000 for the initial deployment and for maintaining the system from its deployment date through May 2007. The result was a high-cost approach for providing network connectivity to a small number of buses.
  • Beware of rapid advances in video communications technologies while considering the deployment of a bus security system. The rapid advance of broadband communications technology has meant that this project, which was a cutting-edge application in 2003 when it was first considered, is no longer cutting-edge. A number of cities are now considering deploying broadband wireless networks on a much more extensive scale than that deployed in Orlando. Other approaches, such as cell modems, are being used to provide network connectivity to buses, and some of these approaches also provide sufficient bandwidth to support security video.
At the time the LYNX Bus Security System was deployed, few extensive broadband wireless networks had been deployed and it was not clear that a wireless network could successfully transmit video from a mobile vehicle. The system successfully demonstrated that such a network could be created and that it could be used to transmit real-time video from mobile vehicles. The FDOT also reported that the video transmission worked well, when the system was operational. However, the system was rarely operational, as reported in the project’s evaluation report, lacking the proper diagnostic and verification tools that would have enhanced the reliability of the system to attain the safety and security goals the system was meant to serve.


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Source

iFlorida Model Deployment Final Evaluation Report

Author: Robert Haas (SAC); Mark Carter (SAIC); Eric Perry (SAIC); Jeff Trombly (SAIC); Elisabeth Bedsole (SAIC): Rich Margiotta (Cambridge Systematics)

Published By: United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE Washington, DC 20590

Source Date: 01/30/2009

EDL Number: 14480

URL: http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/31000/31000/31051/14480.htm

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Lessons From This Source

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Lesson ID: 2010-00519