Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Moderators: JamesT4, metraRI

  by Pacific 2-3-1
The CTA has announced that all of the "L"-subway cars (except the 2200's and 2400's, which are being retired) will have cameras installed in them by October, 2013.

The 5000's (Pink, Green and Red Lines) have them already, of course.
  by Tadman
I was on a Red train last night composed of (8) 5000's. I noticed the amount of cameras is high - maybe 6? Quite a lot of footage to store for 48 hours or so.
  by byte
As I understand it the footage isn't continuously stored. The cameras are only activated when an incident of some sort occurs in a specific car, then the operator can zone in on that car's camera feed and see what's going on.
  by doepack
Just curious: Anybody know how much it's going to cost to retrofit the older equipment? We're talking about over 800 cars or so, don't think it's gonna be cheap...
  by Milwaukee_F40C
What a joke. How will anyone know an incident is occurring if no one is watching the feed at that instant, and how will the cameras be any help if the footage is not being stored because no one was aware that an incident was occurring?
  by AMTKHawkeye
While cameras by and large aren't being continuously monitored in real time, they do provide critical information and evidence when investigating incidents, both for law enforcement officials and for CTA internal investigations. They do also serve as a deterrent to crime.
  by byte
The idea is that the operator is notified of a problem by a rider pressing the emergency communication button within the car, and can then view the car's video feed to see what's going on. From this point on the video imagery probably is being recorded. No sense in installing something that records everything 24/7/365, so you can get lots of video of people reading the paper and picking their nose.

Doepack: What's interesting about this retrofit is that if they're doing it like the 5000s and trainlining the video feed, they'll need to find a couple spare pins in the coupler electrical connections on these cars.
  by Tadman
I thought most places with security cameras keep a continual recording, and after a rolling 48 hours or so, the recording is deleted. That way if there is a rape or robbery, something where you obviously can't say "excuse me Mr. Rapist, may I go press the emergency button?", the police have some footage to review. Obviously if there's an incident, the police will pull the tape soon and not let it ride around for two weeks, allowing the 48 hour delete window.
  by justalurker66
It would not be impossible to have a buffer for the cameras. The simple system I have seen can be set to record at low frame rates or "pause" when no motion is seen and go to full motion when triggered. My home system has a pre-roll buffer ... when there is a trigger the recording starts a set time before the trigger. (A separate motion sensor or trigger is not required but is possible.)

I have not looked for details on CTA's system, but on one system I am familiar with the request for proposal specified the ability for that system's police department to securely monitor the cameras live from outside of the vehicles. And buffer video. I would not be surprised if CTA had days of storage in each car.
  by R36 Combine Coach
Regarding cameras on the 2600s, I believe the oldest 200-300 of these cars will be replaced as well by the 700+ 5000s (although not until 2014 at earliest).