Video Surveillance Uses by Rail Transit Agencies

Document Type


Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - terrorism, place - north america, planning - personal safety/crime, mode - mass transit


Case studies, Data storage, Financing, Literature reviews, Monitoring, Policy, Rail transit, Safety and security, Surveillance, Surveys, Transit operating agencies, Video cameras


The purpose of this synthesis was to document the current use of electronic video surveillance technology solely by passenger rail agencies, considering the totality of its use and including onboard railcars, as well as its right-of-way. It was accomplished by means of a literature review, transit agency survey, and case studies. Results describe administrative policies in place surrounding the monitoring of video images either in real time or for post-event analysis, policies surrounding archiving and storing images and employee access to them, other public agencies (primarily police) and the general public, as well as funding sources for installation of new or upgrading of existing video surveillance systems. Forty-three completed surveys were received from 58 rail transit agencies, a response ratio of 73%. Five case studies across a geographic range of locations (California, Arizona, Texas, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania) offer additional details on a variety of modes, different security configurations (transit police or reliance on local agencies), and systems upgrades to include technologies that other agencies are likely to be considering, including lessons learned.


Permission to link to this synthesis has been given by Transportation Research Board, copyright remains with them.