Public means of transport have been the object of numerous terrorist attacks, mainly because of the high concentration of passengers, the criticality of mobility in modern society and the difficulties in applying effective screening or other protection measures. Video surveillance is one of the major instruments to increase security. However, in the case of managing emergencies following major accidents or security events, classical CCTV based surveillance is of little use, apart from forensic investigations. The main issues are related to:
• The time and resources needed to process the huge amounts of information accumulated during the 24/7 CCTV operations.
• The cost of maintaining such centralised infrastructures.
• The threat (or perception of threat) to personal data and privacy from the continuous acquisition, transmission and storage of video streams.
ASPIS is a novel smart surveillance system that was conceived soon after the London bombing events in order to answer the above issues. It is a scalable, modular, surveillance / alarm system designed to provide prompt, complete, pertinent information for the management of emergency situations in public means of transport without compromising citizen’s right to privacy. In fact, it records and transmits information only on the occurrence of an emergency event. Three operational scenarios have been developed and tested:
1. Underground metro / suburban rail: on-board surveillance, on-board explosion / gunshots
2. Ferry or cruise vessel: monitoring cabin occupancy under vessel evacuation conditions
3. Ferry or cruise vessel: monitoring doors / accesses to sensitive rooms / spaces
The ASPIS project, financed from the EC under the FP7-SST scheme, started on June 2008 and concluded on March 2012. It has been coordinated by THALES Security Systems. A prototype system was tested in the Paris underground and on board of a large ferry vessel.