City Utilities Transit Services (CU Transit) in Springfield, MO is setting expectations and paving the way for technology adoption among transit agencies within the state, across the country and worldwide. CU Transit follows a policy for ensuring that the technology on-board any vehicle within its public transportation fleet functions properly before it takes to the roads of Springfield.
This policy includes verifying that the vehicle and on-board equipment is operating at optimum levels each day. Apollo Video Technology’s on-board video surveillance system coupled with back-end software solutions creates a direct communication link from City Utilities staff to the digital video recorders (DVRs), cameras and hard drives on-board the buses. The information sent wirelessly confirms to the agency that the equipment is working properly and notifies operators of any system errors.
For example, transit supervisors can monitor, through a vehicle health report, if an on-board camera has been vandalized or if its view has been obstructed. The maintenance department is notified regarding the issue and crews are dispatched to the vehicle with the appropriate repair or replacement equipment, quickly resolving any issues. The use of wireless fleet management software solutions such as these reduces exploratory and maintenance costs, minimizes video failures, provides automatic fleet reports, and most importantly, protects both riders and transit employees.
City Utilities has operated the public transit system for the city of Springfield since 1945 and provided 1.5 million rides in 2011. The transit system consists of 14 fixed day routes and four evening routes, covering more than 170 miles. In addition, City Utilities offers a paratransit service that provides rides to passengers who require additional resources to facilitate their bus travel.
CU Transit began its partnership with Apollo Video in 2010 when it deployed the state-of-the-art RoadRunner video surveillance system on-board its fleet. Fixed route and paratransit buses were equipped with seven to eight interior and exterior cameras along with wireless networking equipment. The agency, desiring additional data and reports from each bus, added the Vehicle Information Management (ViM) software as part of a later installation phase leveraging the existing wireless LAN networking equipment.
“Apollo Video’s abilities to communicate to the technology on-board each vehicle through the ViM software has provided a great time-saving benefit to our operations,” said Carol Cruise, Director-Transit of City Utilities Transit Services. “Our goal is to protect employees and riders, and the software provides us with accurate information which allows us to resolve any conflict and return the vehicle to its route.”
CU Transit relies on mobile video surveillance footage, reports and notifications as a means to set expectations that the safety and security of its passengers is the highest priority.
“This information is critical to our fleet every day, not just when we need to provide video evidence,” said Cruise. “We focus on passenger and driver safety at all times and have made a commitment to the community that video will always be working; this is a key benefit to our risk management plan.”
A dependable surveillance solution is critical for CU Transit. At any time a bus, driver, passenger, or even another vehicle may find itself in a situation where video evidence is the determining factor in shaping who or what is at fault in the incident. Stability in mobile video equipment decreases City Utilities’ liability significantly. Additionally, CU Transit’s use of the ViM software mitigates the risk of video loss and increases accessibility to video surveillance data.
“We continue to enhance our system with Apollo Video because this solution gives City Utilities the intelligence every day to understand how the equipment is operating,” said Cruise. “Safely getting our passengers from point A to point B is our drivers’ main focus.”
With City Utilities’ investment in the Apollo Video solution, the local police department and first responders benefit from improved access to critical information during traffic accident and criminal investigations. City Utilities may choose to upgrade the system at anytime to feature capabilities such as 4G wireless connectivity with live video streaming, an archive system with short-term and long-term storage options and event statistics (route, bus, driver and GPS information).
Soon, no bus will enter the roadway with as much as a dirty lens or a camera view out of alignment. Proactive health checks will become routine for any transit agency dedicated to increasing safety, improving efficiency, reducing liability and saving money. City Utilities is setting the industry standard and creating a benchmark for other transit agencies for ensuring safety, security and optimal technology performance through strategic investments such as video management software.