In Chicago, Illinois, the cost to equip 322 buses with on-board video and audio surveillance was estimated at $3.1 million.
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United States

Summary Information

This study examined on-board transit vehicle surveillance and highlighted deployments made by several large U.S. public transit agencies. To evaluate the “state of practice” with respect to in-vehicle surveillance, survey questionnaires were sent to 32 transit agencies, a literature-search was conducted, and vendor and industry experts were interviewed to identify emerging technologies. The study found 26 transit agencies currently had surveillance systems in operation. The technology types listed below represent the most common equipment deployed.

    • Closed circuit television cameras (CCTV) (e.g., lens, camera, transmission link, multiplexer, video recording device)
    • Event recorders (e.g., device that records visual images as well as signals from multiple vehicle systems)
    • Audio surveillance (a stand alone device that records audio or an integrated part of a video surveillance system)

The cost of CCTV equipment has decreased in recent years and is now available as an “option” on new transit vehicles. The cost per bus depends on the technology deployed, and the complexity and size of the system. Typically, analog CCTV systems are least expensive and digital CCTV systems are more expensive. On-board CCTV surveillance systems can range from $1,000 to $10,000 per vehicle and have a median cost of about $6,500. Medium priced systems typically use digital event recorders and cost $5,000 to $7,000 per vehicle.

In Chicago, Illinois, on-board transit surveillance systems were installed on 322 buses. Multiple cameras were installed on the interior of each bus to ensure complete coverage, and digital event recorders were used to securely capture video, audio, and sensor data. In 1998, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) reported the total cost of installation was $3.1 million.

Electronic Surveillance Technology on Transit Vehicles: A Synthesis of Transit Practice, TCRP Synthesis 38

Electronic Surveillance Technology on Transit Vehicles: A Synthesis of Transit Practice, TCRP Synthesis 38
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Transportation Research Board

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System Cost

CTA on-board system surveillance cost: $3.1 million (1998). CCTV system median cost per vehicle: $6,500. Digital event recorder systems per vehicle: $5,000 to $7,000.