Front Page
Boeing Frontiers
March 2004
Volume 02, Issue 10
Boeing Frontiers
Cover Story

On the right track

An IDS system is aiding security at Denver light-rail stations

On the right trackPublic transit officials need to offer safe and reliable systems for riders to feel good about—and continue—riding buses, trains and light rail.

For the Denver Regional Transportation District, concerns about automobile break-ins and thefts at Park-n-Ride light rail stations have given rise to the deployment of a new security system that uses photo-realistic, three-dimensional visualization tools to give security personnel complete situational awareness from a computer workstation.

As the homeland security market matures, Boeing is finding new opportunities for work from government customers, the private sector and civil agencies such as the RTD. Improving the security of transportation systems on land, at sea and in the air is one of the major focus areas of the Homeland Security and Services business unit of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems.

Using Boeing Integrated Defense Systems' advanced Visual Security Operations Console, RTD has linked dozens of state-of-the-art surveillance cameras, alarm systems and recording devices to keep a watchful eye on parking lots that serve four suburban stations. The VSOC system provides security surveillance, video assessment and alarm management tools to substantially improve physical security at the rail stations.

"The system gives our security personnel a cost-effective solution for monitoring Park-n-Ride commuter stations along a 15-mile stretch of our light rail system in the metro area," said Michael Sinclair, RTD's security systems administrator. The VSOC system ties together video cameras and alarm systems that provide 24-hour surveillance at four of Denver's suburban light rail stations.

Software developers at Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems' Washington Operations in Springfield, Va., originally developed the Visual Security Operations Console in 2000 for security command centers at highly sensitive government facilities. The system, which works with several brands of commercial video surveillance cameras and alarm systems, includes software for the data management and presentation layers as well as computer disc drives, networking tools and display panels.

On the right trackVSOC began to receive interest from state transportation officials and commercial businesses following the September 2001 terrorist attacks. Florida recently tapped VSOC for a $10 million federally funded Intelligent Transportation System initiative to monitor bridge traffic in Jacksonville and Cape Canaveral. In 2003, Qantas Airways installed VSOC at a Sydney Airport maintenance hangar to keep track of Boeing 747 and 767 repairs to reduce the risk of foreign object damage to the airplanes.

Denver's RTD wanted a system that it could install quickly and operate efficiently with minimal training of its security force. VSOC fit the requirement because it's a proven system that has an intuitive graphical user interface, such as on Windows or Macintosh computer operating system software. With a point and a click, a security officer can view live video from one of several dozen surveillance cameras deployed in the four Denver light-rail parking lots.

RTD installed more than 75 video cameras in the four parking facilities to provide security personnel with multiple viewpoints at any moment. Recordings from these cameras can be reviewed instantaneously and are available for up to two weeks after an event.

"The need for improved physical security is on everyone's radar screen, especially since 9/11, and we were pleased to provide this security enhancement for our light-rail patrons," RTD's Sinclair said. "VSOC is ideally suited to our needs because of its enhanced monitoring and surveillance capabilities."

Sinclair said that VSOC goes a long way toward improving public safety in the rail system's parking lots.

"The primary advantages for our rail system are faster, more effective assessment of alarms, and simplified training and operations requirements of our security personnel," said Sinclair, adding that RTD hopes to install VSOC in other rail facilities following a six- to 12-month trial. "We're quite enthusiastic about the way VSOC can allow our security force to monitor activities in the Park-n-Ride facilities."



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