In 2005, Asheville Redefines Transit (ART) installed its first mobile video surveillance solution to improve passenger safety and video management. The agency chose Apollo Video Technology’s RoadRunner™ solution for its proven reliability and high quality recording capability. Apollo Video has been ART’s mobile video surveillance solution provider for eight years, having provided a long-term, flexible solution to keep up with the agency’s security demands.

ART is a primary link for public transportation in Asheville, N.C. and the surrounding area of Buncombe County, serving a population of 229,000 with more than 15 regular routes within the County. With an astounding annual ridership of 1.5 million passengers, the City of Ashville has been successful with their initiative to encourage all residents to use the transit system.

Seamless, backwards compatibility between video hardware and software has become the most important asset of ART and Apollo Video’s business partnership. ART has continued to enhance and add to its video surveillance system since initial installation in 2005 and currently operates all four generations of Apollo Video DVR hardware managed with one software solution on its 21-vehicle fleet. Backwards compatability is a capability no other mobile video surveillance company provides.

Since ART’s initial deployment, new technology has been implemented providing higher quality and higher resolution video, along with larger storage as compared to earlier versions. Throughout these improvements, one thing has never changed – compatibility between prior versions of DVR equipment and a single video management software solution. Apollo Video‘s software is capable of communicating with every generation of Apollo DVR installed on ART vehicles.

Apollo Video’s software provides viewing, search and archiving capabilities of recorded video from any equipped vehicle, utilizing any generation of installed hardware. This eliminates the need for ART to unnecessarily replace fully functional hardware in order to maintain compatibility, purchase new software or retrain employees on a new software platform.

“Apollo has grown with us through the years, providing improved technology and flexible software solutions,” said Norman Schenck, General Manager of ART. “A backward compatible system saves agency resources – we are grateful that Apollo Video’s software and hardware upgrades are compatible with the original hardware the agency purchased, maximizing our initial investment and resources.”

Apollo Video’s solutions have also become an unexpected asset to the agency in other ways – a teaching tool for the ART administrative staff. Schenck said that managing all on board video equipment and vehicle activity through one software solution has eased the training process for new bus operators and their supervisors, and also acts as tool for quality assurance.

“We use video footage constantly in driver training,” he said. “ART prides itself on the superior customer service its operators provide to Asheville citizens. Oftentimes, we can pull video of incidents onboard a vehicle and use it as a teaching tool for other operators to introduce new procedures or reinforce incident protocol.”

Not only does ART use the Apollo Video system as a learning tool, but also as a way to recognize positive behavior. When a driver has performed an exceptional act of customer service, ART managers may choose to show a piece of footage to teach other drivers best practices.

“The agency has been able to use video as a positive reinforcement tool,” Schenck said. “It is a great way to encourage good driver etiquette.”

A recent City of Ashville town hall meeting included presentations from ART to explain the safety precautions the agency takes for the benefit of its customers. When asked, many Asheville citizens expressed relief and took comfort knowing that video cameras were installed on the buses for their safety.

ART also provides video footage from onboard its buses and surrounding activity to law enforcement personnel to aid in incident response and investigations. ART buses are equipped with multiple cameras positioned to record video both inside and outside the vehicle including a forward-facing camera for viewing out the vehicle’s windshield and interior cameras, located at the front to monitor the fare box area; and additional interior cameras viewing the front and back doors of the vehicle. Exterior-mounted cameras have also been useful for capturing video of activity occurring outside the vehicles, at bus stops and on city streets. Police have used video evidence from ART cameras to solve crimes and provide answers to investigations that are unrelated to onboard or transit activity.

“ART takes security very seriously,” said Schenck. “Since installing Apollo Video’s RoadRunner system on the vehicles, we have been able to provide valuable input for many police investigations, promoting justice for Asheville citizens and enhancing safety and security in our community.”

As ART considers future upgrades, including wireless capabilities for managing, viewing and sharing video, additional functionality will allow law enforcement and agency supervisors to log in and request specific segments of video at even faster speeds.

Many transit systems across the country, including ART, strive to make the smartest possible investments for their agencies. Through these future upgrades, ART can be confident that its resources are utilized to their greatest value with a long-term solution provided by Apollo Video Technology that will evolve with the transit system as it grows.

Seamless, backwards compatibility between video hardware and software has become the most important asset of ART and Apollo Video’s business partnership.

– Norman Schenck, general manager, Asheville Redefines Transit

 

Asheville Redefines Transit

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