CCTV

AI trained on CCTV footage to be used to fight harassment and violence on public transport

Artificial intelligence (AI) will be applied to CCTV footage from cameras on the Sydney train network to detect threatening behaviours.

The trial is the result of Transport for NSW’s Safety After Dark Innovation Challenge, which sought initiatives to improve safety for women travelling on public transport.

The AI CCTV solution was proposed by the University of Wollongong’s SMART Infrastructure Facility. The software would automatically analyse real-time footage and alert an operator when it detect a suspicious incident or unsafe environment.

Lead researcher John Barthelemy said the software could be applied in a number of ways.

“The AI will be trained to detect incidents such as people fighting, a group of agitated persons, people following someone else, and arguments or other abnormal behaviour,” he said.

“It can also identify an unsafe environment, such as where there is a lack of lighting. The system will then alert a human operator who can quickly react if there is an issue.”

The project is based on PhD student Yan Qian’s research that is using computer vision across multiple cameras to improve understandings of traffic and pedestrian movements.

“We are using open-source code that tries to estimate the poses of a human being and predict if there’s a fight,” she said.

“As far as we know, nothing like this has been attempted globally. We are pushing the limits of the technology.”

Other successful projects came from data sharing platform She’s a Crowd, safety technology vendors Guardian LifeStream and Cardno/UNSW.

Minister for Transport Andrew Constance said that transport operators had an obligation to improve the experience of travelling on their networks.

“We want all our customers to feel safe on the network and it is not good enough that 9 out of 10 Australian women experience harassment on the street and modify their behaviour in response,” Constance said.

“The winners were chosen for their potential to meaningfully address real safety issues, and their ability to use creative and sophisticated new technologies to make a real difference.”

Drones watch over Victorian train network on Cup Day

Victoria has deployed two drones to monitor the more than 1000 extra train services running racegoers to and from the Melbourne Cup Carnival in Flemington.

Metro Trains Control Centre and security staff alongside Victoria Police will monitor the train network, which is operating at a higher frequency, via the drones. The intention is to be able to respond quickly if there is an infrastructure issue or security incident on the track, and therefore improve the reliability of trains.

“Using drone technology, we’ll be able to get the best possible views of the train network, which will carry around half of the 300,000 racegoers expected to flock to the Melbourne Cup Carnival,” announced the Minister for Public Transport Melissa Horne yesterday.

This is the first time Metro Trains will use its own drone technology, complementing the 9,000 CCTV cameras already in place across Melbourne, with 10 specially trained pilots working across the four race days.

“We’re always working with our public transport operators to use new technologies that allow us to react quickly to anything that may occur anywhere on the train network,” said Horne.

Metro Trains and Victoria Police are spending $100,000 to tighten security for the race. A new mobile CCTV trailer, complete with thermal night-time, will also be used along the Flemington Racecourse line.

It is intended to target vandals and trespassers on the tracks, following major train delays over the past two weeks caused by the theft of copper cables which forced morning commuters off trains and onto buses.

The trailer includes a six-metre mast carrying a zoomable camera, as well as a thermal imaging camera, providing clear vision at night or in areas with little or no light.

Both technologies will help reduce the impact of train and track faults across the network, getting trains and racegoers moving as quickly as possible.

Melbourne Tram. Photo: RailGallery.com.au

Yarra Trams operations centre to benefit from new tech

The Yarra Trams Operation Centre is receiving a new ‘mega-wall’ of information screens that will help controllers monitor real-time data more effectively. 

The upgrade will incorporate information such as VicRoads traffic data, CCTV from the tram network and passenger tweets so that it is easily accessible on the screens.

A dedicated station for planned and unplanned disruptions has also been added, allowing controllers to switch to ‘crisis mode’ to quickly and effectively plan tram diversions should incidents such as accidents, protests or traffic occur. The staff at the centre are able to provide advice to drivers and passenger information teams should issues occur.

The upgrades come at a time when Yarra Trams is introducing its newest generation of controllers, who have undergone hundreds of hours of training involving the operations centre, including a five-week program driving E-Class trams.

“These upgrades are just another way we’re improving the reliability of our public transport system – minimising disruptions and improving the passenger experience,” said Victorian Minister for Public Transport Melissa Horne.

“As our city continues to grow, we’re investing in the latest technology to get people where they need to go as quickly and safely as possible.”

The Yarra Trams Operation Centre monitors more than 5,000 journeys and receives up to 1,800 calls from drivers across Melbourne’s network every day.