Cape Town to install CCTV, IoT sensors at public transport interchanges

Posted: 16 April 2019 | | No comments yet

Investment in CCTV and IoT across Cape Town is hoped to increase safety and improve passenger experience through monitoring queue lengths and waiting times at taxi and bus ranks.

Cape Town to install CCTV at public transport interchanges (PTIs)

Cape Town’s Transport Directorate is investing in new CCTV technology for public transport interchanges (PTIs) and bus rapid transit stations in a bid to improve passenger safety and experience.

The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Alderman Felicity Purchase, said: “We’ll be installing 159 CCTV cameras at nine minibus-taxi ranks. In fact, 54 CCTV cameras have already been installed at the public transport facilities in Wynberg, Claremont, and the Cape Town Station Deck. The CCTV camera project will boost the safety of our commuters and operators in the various communities where the PTIs and the MyCiTi stations are located. The cameras will also provide a technological advantage for safety and law enforcement purposes.”

The investment in the roll-out of the CCTV cameras at nine of the City’s minibus-taxi ranks amounts to over U.S.$800,000, while another U.S.$350,000 will be invested in CCTV for MyCiTi – Cape Town’s BRT system.

The footage from the cameras can be viewed in real time, as well as after the fact. The data that is captured will be made available as needed for prosecution purposes.

Apart from the safety aspect, the cameras also boast technology that will provide the Transport Directorate with information about the lengths of queues and waiting times at the PTIs, with lane-designated destinations, commuter counting, and Internet of Things sensors to provide traffic data.

The number of CCTV cameras to be installed at each PTI is determined by the number of commuters and operators making use of the facility, as well as the physical layout. There are currently 79 PTIs across the city.

Purchase continued: “We’re also testing a solution where the cameras can be used to count the number of passengers that are boarding a minibus-taxi. This is very important to prevent overloading and will assist to improve the safety of commuters, of drivers and of other road users. Thus, this technology could be used to prevent an overloaded taxi from leaving a PTI.

“Given that the roll-out of the CCTV camera project is subject to budget availability, the implementation is happening incrementally. Next on the list of PTIs to benefit from this project are those in Lentegeur, Nyanga, Masiphumelele, Hout Bay, Nyanga and Retreat. These are all scheduled to happen in the next financial year, starting on the 1 July 2019.” 

Apart from the CCTV cameras, the roll-out of digital technologies at the PTIs includes the installation of public Wi-Fi, Internet of Things sensors and access control. The public Wi-Fi will provide the city with data about the movement of commuters at the PTIs.

Purchase said: “By learning more about how people move in and around PTIs and how they are making use of these facilities we can plan better future upgrades and redesigns of the PTIs. Also, it enables us to get an indication of the number of commuters making use of buses, minibus-taxis, and passenger rail. Access control provides us with data about the number of vehicles that are making use of the PTI.”

The data will be used to:

  • Ensure that environmental factors do not affect commuters’ health negatively
  • Monitor the number of commuters and mode of transport at PTIs and to detect changes in commuter behaviour
  • Monitor traffic conditions around PTIs
  • Promote commuter safety
  • Provide operational information about commuter and public transport for planning and regulatory purposes.
  • Purchase commented: “We’re are currently connecting the on-site CCTV cameras to the Transport Management Centre (TMC) via optic fibre to enable 24/7 monitoring of these cameras. Thus, when the TMC detects an incident at or nearby a PTI they can immediately request for the appropriate response services via the various law enforcement agencies.”

The cameras are all high-resolution static and pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ). Where access control is specified, the city is also installing license plate recognition cameras along with the radio frequency identification (RFID) readers, which will read the RFID-enabled rank tokens at the booms as part of the access control solution.