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OCR for page 71
71 Onboard technologies--Video surveillance is considered matically issue permits to their residents if minimum to be a versatile and very effective solution for operator criteria are met. assault. Newer systems offer improved video quality, Operator training--Agencies report that a number of allow wireless uploads, and are easier to integrate incidents may have been prevented through a change with other technologies. Audio surveillance is useful in in the operator's actions, words, or demeanor. There- addressing verbal attacks and has been implemented by fore, customer service, conflict mitigation, and diver- some agencies, along with video surveillance. Although sity training are believed to be very effective measures agencies post signage regarding surveillance, some pas- against assault. sengers may not be aware of it. A few agencies noted Policing--Uniformed officers are considered to be a that their operators have successfully defused poten- very effective measure against operator assault. Some tially violent situations by reminding passengers that agencies also use plainclothes officers to apprehend they are being recorded. AVLs have been effective in assailants, fare evaders, and rules violators. improving incident response times. Transit Operations Agency policies and legislation--Almost half of U.S. Decision Support System is an innovative technology states have enhanced penalties for operator assault. Cur- that supports the dispatch function by managing and pri- rently, no Canadian province has such legislation. oritizing the many pieces of data produced by AVL and Because fare payment policies cause disputes between computer-aided dispatch systems. operators and passengers, adjustments to these policies DNA kits--DNA kits are used in London to help identify can mitigate assaults against operators. Off-board fare and prosecute offenders who spit upon London bus payment eliminates interaction between operators and and train operators; further research would be needed passengers with regard to fare payment. to determine feasibility in terms of public acceptance School and community outreach--School and community and cost of these kits in the United States. outreach is a longer-term method to prevent operator Information management--With regard to information assault. Outreach programs familiarize students and the management, Edmonton Transit System in Canada is community with the public transportation system and using a model incorporating hot spots and annual crime its workers. Although most school outreach programs trends to forecast crime. The model is part of a broader target preteens or teenagers, a few have programs for information management strategy and is used in con- very young children. Community outreach involves the junction with an adapted CompStat process, computer- transit agency becoming an integral part of community aided dispatch system, records management and security activities. These efforts enhance the agencies' public portal, trespasser tracker, and scheduling software. image, lessening the likelihood of assault against their Barriers--One of the two early adopters of this security operators. measure reported that barriers installed in its bus fleet have been very effective in preventing operator assault, even though the barrier provides only partial protec- FURTHER RESEARCH tion, and that it was the most effective bus operator pro- tection method that had been implemented. Several The following topics were identified during the Synthesis agencies have recently installed or are testing barriers. study as requiring further research: These agencies have noted concerns about customer service, operator comfort issues, glare and reflection, Barriers--With the exception of a few agencies, barriers and noise. are new to transit agencies in the United States and Self-defense tools and training--Self-defense tools and Canada. Concerns about glare and reflection, operator training are immediately available to the operator during discomfort and claustrophobia, and customer service an attack. Self-defense-from-a-seated-position train- difficulties have come to light. Further research into ing is provided by Pierce Transit, Calgary Transit, and barrier design can address these issues. other agencies. One of the tenets of this training is that Behavioral assessments--A few agencies have indicated the seated position is the safest position from which that they are providing behavioral assessment training to defend oneself. Houston METRO is the only U.S. to their bus operators to identify suspicious behavior agency, as of the date of this report, that issues a self- and activity. Because questions about the effective- defense tool to its operators who request it and undergo ness of this technique in aviation security have been the required training. One agency, Metro Transit in raised, more research may be indicated to determine Minnesota, offers pepper spray training to operators the effectiveness of behavioral assessment in the iden- who request it and reports that their operators have used tification of criminals and prevention of crime within pepper spray to effectively defend themselves against transit systems. assault. Both agencies operate in "shall-issue" states DNA kits--To determine the feasibility of this measure in for concealed firearms--the granting authorities have terms of public acceptance and cost and other factors, no discretion over permit applications, and must auto- further research is required.

OCR for page 71
72 Operator perspective--More research on the perceptions and used in subway and rail settings. With further of security measures and policies from the operator research and development of these algorithms, violent perspective would assist agencies in developing mea- behavior may be automatically identified and even sures and policies amenable to the operator. predicted, and immediate alerts may be sent to dis- Self-defense tools--Effectiveness of self-defense tools patch or law enforcement. against assailants, safety of the tools for the operator Workplace violence data--The National Transit Data- and passengers, and safety for the assailant in the bus base does not accommodate the reporting of minor environment are major concerns of agencies. More assaults that do not result in an arrest. Research into an research into less-than-lethal tools appropriate for bus expanded database can help agencies capture the true operators would help agencies. extent of workplace violence and understand the Video content analysis--Researchers are developing details of violent incidents and identify emerging behavioral recognition algorithms that are being tested trends.