Transportation

Keeping an Eye on a "Moving Landmark"
San Diego Trolley Upgrades to Pelco

by Denise S. Dieser, Marketing Communications Writer, ddieser@pelco.com

Pelco dealer Metro Video Systems Inc. of El Segundo, California, recently completed the design and installation of Phase One of a new video security system for San Diego Trolley, Inc. "We wanted to observe what was going on at various trolley stations, and our old CCTV system wouldn’t do that," said Langley C. Powell, President and General Manager of San Diego Transit Corporation. "It was distorted and didn’t work very well."

Robert L. Weir, owner of Metro Video, said, "How it all started was that an article came out in the San Diego Union about the trolley system’s blind eye on crime and that they had a $1.1 million surveillance system that didn’t work. "Weir went on to say that he then wrote a letter to the mayor of San Diego telling him what his company could do for the trolley system. "After that, I got a call from Langley Powell (then President and General Manager of San Diego Trolley) in February 2001. He said, ‘Mr. Weir, the alligators are biting. What can we do? We need a system.’ I told him what we were doing, wrote up the specifications around Pelco, it went out to bid, and they gave it to us."

Quality and Reliability Pays Off

At one point, however, Weir said it looked like they weren’t going to get the job. He said it was given to them, taken away, then given back. "Twenty other companies tried to do this, but we prevailed. I wrote the specs. I knew it was good, and by God, we got it. We really triumphed!"

Powell said they made contact with Bob Weir to see if he would be interested in responding to a request for proposal. "His equipment is reliable, and Bob is prompt and good at what he does."

One of Pelco’s longest standing dealers – an authorized Pelco Dealer for over 33 years – Metro Video Systems prides itself in everything it does, but is especially proud of this installation.

"The system was accomplished with perfection," said Weir. "It turned out marvelous. You can actually see the trolley as it’s pulling into the station." He said they always try their best to do things right. "But this time we made a concerted effort to make a stellar system. It’s flawless."

The system is networked together using PelcoNet over dual T-1 based tie lines with a Pelco System 9760 Matrix hub and System 9740 spoke design. Video digitally recorded using Pelco’s DX9000 Series DVR. This system also includes Pressurized Esprit Positioning Systems and Spectra II Domes.

A part of the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, the San Diego Trolley light rail system has been in operation since July 1981 and spans 46.8 total system miles.The trolleys are able to travel at speeds of up to 50-55 mph and have an average weekday ridership of over 83,000 passengers. Often called San Diego’s "moving landmark," the trolley is used not only for commuting to work, restaurants, and shopping, but is also a fun way to get around to such places as San Diego’s historic Old Town, the harbor, and to Qualcomm Stadium at Jack Murphy Field, or even to the Mexican border.

Future Expansion Planned

The first phase of the trolley’s video security system has been successfully installed at the Euclid Avenue Station on the Orange Line in downtown San Diego, with future phases planned once additional funding becomes available. Powell said that they are looking to have Weir respond to another request for proposal for installing video security equipment for the San Diego Transit Bus System as well as for more of their trolley stations.

"We may go for four more stations within the next few months," said Russ Desai, Engineering Project Manager and Powell’s right-hand man during the trolley video security upgrade project. Desai was the engineering liaison who coordinated with Weir’s installers and engineers.

"Bob told us what to expect, and it’s working to expectation." Desai said the system at the Euclid Station is a demo to see how everything works and to gauge its reliability. "It also seems to be easy to use, in speaking with the operators."

"Since it’s been completed, everyone has been thrilled with it," said Powell. "We can also cut back on the number of security people and rely on the CCTV system. It’s working very well."

Metro Video Systems has been in business for over 33 years and is a provider of Closed Circuit Television, specializing in security systems for both private corporations and public agencies. To see a video surveillance demo of this system, you may visit www.metrovideosystems.com

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