Infrastructure Security

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Spotting trouble in transport

Typically, an underground station has more than 200 cameras, of which only a handful can be monitored on-line at any one time, even if most of them are being recorded. New capabilities are therefore needed to intervene swiftly when a crime is in progress. Working with other universities and public transport operators around Europe, UCL has developed technology to register suspicious situations automatically – for instance, an abandoned rucksack or a person moving in the wrong direction or standing still where they would be expected to move – and then quickly alert a human observer, who will assess the situation and act where necessary. The UCL team has also investigated how this enhanced system results in an increased sense of personal security in public spaces.

Professor Nick Tyler (Civil & Environmental Engineering) says: “The logistics and ethics of monitoring people as they move through a transport system are complex. In a new project, REASON, we will be addressing the problem of ‘losing’ a criminal caught on CCTV within a station or public vehicle as soon as he leaves the scene on foot or by public transport. REASON will raise the level of surveillance on and around buses with a combination of in-vehicle and off-vehicle CCTV systems in real time. We will also be studying the ethical issues of such technology as it is being developed."

Security in ship design

Professor David Andrews (Mechanical Engineering) works on a joint project with the Fire Safety & Engineering Group at the University of Greenwich, and the Ministry of Defence Sea Technology Group. Professor Andrews’ work utilises a new computer-aided design tool developed at UCL known as SURFCON, which integrates maritime software into the design process, enabling a more ‘architectural’ approach to ship design. SURFCON provides an environment for simulation of personnel and freight movement, disaster scenarios, security procedures etc.

Professor Andrews explains: “By using SURFCON in ship design, we can simulate many different safety scenarios early on in the design process. For instance, we can look at the movement of passengers and freight around the ship and examine what will happen in a emergency scenario, such as an evacuation. This allows us to design out ‘weak spots’ in the ship and to develop important security procedures which can be activated if disaster strikes.”

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Page last modified on 17 mar 11 10:47