Safety and security at Termini Station
An innovative video surveillance system was tested as a way of improving security and making public transport services more attractive.
Implementing sustainable mobility
Termini Station is Rome’s main public transport interchange. The traditional closed circuit television (CCTV) system did not allow for regular and broad real-time monitoring of the images from the high number of cameras in operation. The system was not appropriate for controlling all illegal or dangerous activities, such as assaults, pickpocketing, vandalism, trespassing and overcrowding.
A new automatic video surveillance support system was therefore tested in the underground station at the Termini interchange. The surveillance system is based on the application of a computerised image processor based on complex software, and provides support to the traditional CCTV system, which allowed only direct manual management by the operator. It allows for the automatic detection of overcrowding and congestion in semi-open areas of high human activity (such as station access or ticketing halls) and on platforms; and can be used to spot intrusions, unusual lingering and abandoned objects.
The system was developed and tested with the main users of the CCTV system (including public transport operators in Rome, London, Paris, Brussels, Milan and Prague). The project was developed and managed by the public transport operator ATAC in cooperation with Kingston University and with the support of a technical partner, Ipsotek.
Following the trial, and taking into account the results achieved, ATAC started a preliminary feasibility study for the implementation of the system to analyse the technical, operational and financial constraints specific to the large-scale implementation of such a system.
Work on the software focused on improving the transmission of images (quality and speed); the capacity of the video processor; and the processing of information. An ADSL connection was set up by ATAC in the control room to allow Kingston University researchers to update and monitor the software directly from London. The final industrial hardware for the system was installed in July 2003.
The new system is able to recognise standard situations and notify the operators by an audio-visual alarm. This procedure, designed in collaboration with the operators of the control rooms, allows an intuitive and efficient interface, both for prevention and control guarantees, making it possible to detect and monitor passenger tendencies and habits in order to improve the quality of public transport services.
The trial was carried out in Rome’s most complex metro station, Termini. After the test phase, the automatic video surveillance system was identified as suitable for future exploitation, both in Rome and other Italian metropolitan areas.