The smart and safe bus stop – restoring confidence in public transportation

Our society faces new challenges with the ever-increasing rate of urbanization and growing need for public travel. In general, the arguments for using public transport are unquestionably sound: It’s good for the environment, it decreases traffic congestion and the economic benefits are a given, but for many, it is a genuine concern in terms of personal safety.

It’s good for the environment, it decreases traffic congestion and the economic benefits are a given, but for many, it is a genuine concern in terms of personal safety.

Bus stops are quite commonly hotspots for social interaction, but sometimes these interactions can lead to harassment and in worst cases violence that warrants intervention from the authorities. In their current state, the majority of bus stops and public transport terminals offer very little in terms of citizens’ safety. In 2016 Teleste set out to find a technological solution for driving public transportation on a path that connects with modern-day security needs as well as the needs of future smart cities. The innovation that came about was the Connected ZoneTM, which aims to create a safe environment for public areas including bus stops and tram terminals.

The Connected Zone is a combination of existing Teleste technologies including a rugged, IP65 certified, TFT Display that is integrated with a security camera connected to a situational awareness solution. The glue that ties these existing technologies together is a personal mobile application which enables Connected Zone visitors to trigger a safety alarm when feeling threatened or in need of help or assistance. The technology uses a situational awareness software that is designed to detect security related events such as fires, break-ins and burglaries among other occurrences.

The technology is easily scalable and can be fitted to different scenarios and needs. Teleste’s solution has a built-in wireless modem/Router/PC built in as a communication hub for all the features, but the only visible element externally is the digital display. Existing visual display solutions can be retrofitted with a top box that includes all of the required technology. The tech is also extremely modular and it is easy to integrate sensors for broken glass and other incidents, as well as to add microphones, speakers and other add-ons.

Naturally, public safety must go hand in hand with public privacy and in many cases 24/7 surveillance is not an option. Connect Zone cameras can be set to activate only in cases, where the alarm is triggered within the application by users who have given prior consent when installing the application. The ID profile within the app is GDPR compliant and the camera view can be restricted to a view inside the bus shelter or any other limited area. Like any other security and surveillance cameras the installation must comply with local security and surveillance camera laws.

When an alarm is received, the system logs and forwards the name and phone number of the user and location of the bus stop to a security network operations centre where an operator can make contact with the user who is in need of assistance. At a later phase, the tracking can even be extended to track the user’s mobile phone to follow any incident that extends beyond the Connected Zone.

The first public test is already underway at the Nokia Campus in Espoo, Finland, where Teleste built a smart and safe bus stop as a part of the LuxTurrim5G Digital Smart City project. A more extensive wide-scale test phase for the Connected Zone is slated to start in the second quarter of 2019 when Connected Zones are introduced to several locations across Stockholm, Sweden, where the concept has seen very high interest. 2019 will be the defining year for the technology where the first priority and focus for Teleste will be ensuring the stability and reliability of the system.

In the future the modular technology can be extended well beyond offering public safety features for citizens including innovative delivery of user specific traffic and travel information, accessibility features as well as advertisements that are relevant to their viewers. But first, the technology will focus on restoring a better sense of security for citizens that use public transport and it will hopefully encourage those that don’t.

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Stig Waldemarsson

I was heading Teleste's Video Security and Information in Scandinavia until 2021.

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