NYC bus camera plan hits a snag

Published 3 April 2007

Integrian’s cameras suffer gaps in video coverage; road conditions and software offered as explanations

New York City may be planning to install security cameras throughout its subway car system, but perhaps it ought to work out its bus problems first. According to the New York Times, New York City Transit’s $5.2 milliion effort to install cameras in 450 Manhattan buses has been delayed after tests on six such equipped buses revealed unexplained gaps in video coverage. “When they downloaded the images from the bus, they found sporadic gaps, some 15 seconds, some much longer,” said NYCT’s Millard Seay. Among the possible reasons, experts say, is that bumps on the road may have damaged the cameras — a problem cited in our recent report on the proposed subway deployment — and other transit authorities have reported similar problems, suggesting that the technology has not quite met demand. North Carolina-based Integrian, under contract to equip 450 buses with cameras, has installed new software in an attempt to solve the issue. A transit spokesman says it “showed a vast improvement,” with more than 99 percent of the digital images properly retrieved. “It’s a new technology,” Charles Seaton said. “It’s understandable. They’re working with us.” Integrian has also installed digital cameras in fifty New Jersey buses without complaint.