June 25, 2012

Capital District installs video cameras at bus stops

As part of its safety program, the Albany, N.Y.-based Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) has installed video cameras at select stops for its bus rapid transit service, BusPlus.

A total of 12 wireless real-time video cameras have been installed at BusPlus Station locations along State Street to monitor surrounding activities as part of the County’s Public Safety Camera Program (PSCP).

This program, a collaborative effort with the Schenectady County District Attorney’s office and the City of Schenectady, further enhances safety at CDTA BusPlus stations with LED lighting and routine monitoring from supervisors. The cameras aid in protecting and reassuring customer safety by reducing vandalism and other potential criminal activity.

More than 30% of CDTA’s regular route bus fleet is equipped with video surveillance cameras. Each retrofitted bus has eight strategically placed cameras with audio on board to cover various angles both inside and out of the vehicle. The plan is to have the entire fleet retrofitted as part of CDTA’s fleet replacement plan.

Additionally, all of CDTA’s facilities, including the Rensselaer Rail Station and the Saratoga Springs Train Station, employ video surveillance systems to monitor public areas in support of Homeland Security’s “If you see something, say something” program.

The County’s Public Safety Camera Program is comprised of 109 wireless surveillance cameras operating in nine city neighborhoods. The cameras are used by various local, state and federal agencies to assist in pending investigations, intelligence gathering and prosecution of offenders. CDTA and Schenectady County have a five-year agreement to implement and maintain a partnership to improve the safety and security of major CDTA bus stops on State Street and surrounding areas in Schenectady County in tandem with local law enforcement.  

CDTA and Schenectady County work closely with the City of Schenectady Police to prevent criminal activity and help solve crimes. Security cameras and the communication system can provide a critical early information source for transit operations while enhancing the connection between transit agencies and emergency responders.

Each year, CDTA receives dozens of requests for video footage from local law enforcement ranging from accidents and crimes, unrelated to CDTA, to reveal the true timeline of events and to identify witnesses or suspects helping to solve crimes.

CDTA provides capital funding for the installation and maintenance of the cameras, while Schenectady County will operate and maintain the cameras as part of the PSCP system. The county monitors the activity of the system, provides status reports and will notify CDTA and local law enforcement of any suspicious activity within 48 hours of detection. Video is recorded and stored for at least 30 days and is available to CDTA and local law enforcement on request.

The $216,000 CDTA BusPlus Public Safety Camera Project is supported by a federal grant with 10% State match and 10% match from CDTA.  

Safewatch is a cooperative effort between CDTA and local law enforcement to make the Capital Region an even safer place to live. CDTA employees are trained to be alert for potential problems and to inform authorities about criminal activity, roadside incidents or accidents.  


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