NJ Transit Plans To Add Cameras To Entire Bus Fleet

NJ Transit plans to add onboard cameras to its entire bus fleet (Photo credit: Flickr user njt4148)

NEWARK—NJ Transit will add on-board cameras to its entire bus fleet in a move aimed at enhancing the overall safety and security of both customers and operators.

The NJ Transit Board of Directors approved the purchase of additional bus on-board camera equipment on 968 additional buses yesterday, authorizing a $2.7 million contract with Drive Cam, Inc. of San Diego, Calif., for installation of hardware and a two-year agreement for managed services, including technical support.
“[Wednesday’s] Board action represents a significant investment in security across the state’s bus network,” said Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman James Simpson. “By equipping all NJ Transit buses with on-board cameras, we are demonstrating our commitment to enhancing the safety and security of customers and employees alike.”

“Following a successful pilot program to evaluate the benefits of bus on-board cameras several years ago, NJ Transit decided that all new buses should come equipped with this technology,” said NJ Transit Executive Director James Weinstein. “The purchase of additional equipment for our existing buses will ensure that all of NJ Transit’s fleet is ultimately outfitted with on-board camera systems.”

NJ Transit currently operates 712 buses equipped with Drive Cam and continues to take delivery of new buses with Drive Cam already installed as standard equipment.

Unlike a conventional camera system, Drive Cam records data when triggered by the operator or when triggered by a significant sudden change in “g-force” such as a collision or high-speed maneuver, capturing occurrences both inside and outside the bus. The system offers a considerable cost savings to conventional on-board camera systems and reduces the amount of data that must be stored.

Each time the bus returns into the garage, events recorded by the system are automatically downloaded through a wireless network to a computer server. As part of the contract, managed services are provided by Drive Cam, who reviews, prioritizes and sends back video data on a daily basis. The vendor also archives data and provides camera system diagnostics.

In 2006, NJ Transit began a pilot program to test the Drive Cam system on 74 buses that operate out of Big Tree Garage in Nutley, which serves communities in Essex, Passaic, Bergen and Union counties. The program was later expanded to include buses out of Newton Avenue Garage in Camden and Washington Township Garage.

In 2007, NJ Transit approved the purchase of 1,145 transit and suburban-style buses equipped with closed-circuit camera systems, marking the first time NJ Transit vehicles are being delivered with closed-circuit cameras as standard equipment. Delivery of the new buses is expected to be completed in 2014.

Installation of Drive Cam on the 968 existing cruiser buses is expected to be completed next year.

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