The Most Expensive Bus Surveillance Ever

Author: Carlton Purvis, Published on Dec 12, 2013

$21,000 per bus surveillance system. This is, by far, the most expensive implementation we have ever seen. The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority is adding cameras to 200 buses for a whopping $6 million, part of a massive MBTA security undertaking fueled by Homeland Security grants. In this note, we review the project and try to figure out why MBTA paid so much.


The Cost

************ * **** ** *** ********. ****** ** ** ******** ********* ** **** *** ****** got ************* ******** ************. **** * **** ** **** ***** * *** **:



**** ** ****** ***** $**,*** *** ***, ********* **** **** the ******* *** ******* ***** ******* ***** * *** ******** dollars (*.*.**** *** *******). **** *** ******* *** ****** ** **** ***** *** $***,*** for ***** ** (**** *** ****** *,*** *****). 

**** **** ** ** ******** ** $***,*** *** "**** ******** and ***" (***** ** ******* ******** *************), * ******* ** * ******* ******* *** ******* *** a $**,*** *** * ******** ******* ** *** *** ****. 

*** ** *********? ** ****** ** ***** ********* ******* ** the ******* *** **** ******** ** *** ******** ** ******** at **** ** **** ***. ** ****’* *** * ********, but **** ** **** ** **** **** ***** ******* ******* to *** *******.

The *********MBTA is putting a  handful of cameras, an NVR, wireless radios, a UPS and a PoE switch onboard. ********* *** ******* *** ************* ********** ************ *******.

******** ******** ***** **** *** ******** **************** ******* **** **** *** **************. *** ***** ************* **** two *** ****** ******* *** *** ***** ******:



*** ****** **** *** ***** *******:

*** ******* ******* *** ****** ******* *** ******* (**** ************ ** ******) *** **** *** *******. **** ** ***** **** *** $1,000 ** ****.

*** *** ** * ******, *** *** **** *********, *** RAM ******* **** *** **** ********* ******* ******.

*** ***, ******** *****, *** ******, *** *** ******* **** be ** * *** ******* ****** *** ******’* ****. * 19-inch *** ******* **** ** ******* ** *** ******* ** the ***. ******** ******* *** *** ********** *** ** ***** ** *** ***** of ****.

Transmitting *****

**** ****** **** ******** ***** ** *** **** ********** ****** via *** *** ****** **** * *** **** ** **** to ****-****** *******. ******* **** ************* ********** ****** ** * local ***** **** ***** **** **** *** *** ****.*

*******

************** *** ***** **** ** ****** *** ** ****, *** must ** ****** ** *** ****** *** *** * ******* of *** ***** ** **** (**** ***** **** ****** ** 15fps).

Other ********** ** *** *** *******

  • *** ****** ** ***** ********** **** ****’* ******************. **** ******* **** ** ***** **** ********* **** ********* Geutebruck, *******, ****, *** ******** **** **** **** ****.
  • **** *** *** ***** ***** ** ***** ****** ** *** dash ***** “*** ***** ****** ***** ******** * ***** **** for ********. *** ***** **** ***** ********* ***** **** ******* prior ** *** ******** ******* **** ******* ***** *** ********. And **** *** *** ***** **** *** ****, ** ****** automatically ***** ********* ********** *****.
  • *** ******** ******** * **** ******** ** *** **** *** equipment *** ******** * **** ******** **** *** * **-**** repair **** *** *** ******.

The **********

********* *** **** *********** *** **** ** ****’* ******** ********. The ******* *** $*.* ******* ***** ** ******** ** ****** control *** ********* ***** ******** *** **** ** **** *** is ********* ******** ** **** ***** ******** **** *** ** to ******* $* *******. **** ******** * $*.* ******* ******** to “******* ** *****, ****** *******, *** ********* **** ******** at * **** *** *****,” ********* ** *********** *********.

Why *** *******

** ***** *** ****** *** *** ******** ** *** ******* is *** ****** ****** ** ******** ** *** *******. ******** on *** ******* *** ********* **** ****’* **********. ** **** there *** **** ** ******* ** ******* ******** ** ** in **** ****,******** ****. *** ******** **** ******** ******** ** ******* ******* *** bodily ***** ******* **** *****.

MBTA ***** *****

*** **** *** ***** **** **** $** ******* ** ******** ** *** **** ******, ********* $** ******* ** ******** ******** ******** ****, $*.* ******* ** **** *** $*.** ******* ** 2013. **** ** **** ****, ** ******* **** **** **** little ****** ** **** **** ***** ** *** *********** **** spend ** **.

Why ** ****?

**** **** ** ******* *** ******** *******, ** ** ** hard ** ********* *** *** ****** ***** ** **** *********, especially ***** *** **** ** ******** $*.* ******* ********** ** head *** ********** (****, *******, ******* ******** ***.). $**,*** *** bus *** * ** * ****** / *** ******, **** with ******** ** ********* *********.

********, *********** **** *** ******* *** ****** **** * *** thousand *******, ** ** ********* ** ********* *** ******* ** the **** ******** $**,*** **** *** *** ******** ** ***** functional ********** *******.

Comments (4)

Carlton do you know if this system has been deployed and if so how it is currently functioning?

I'm surprised at the price, and equally surprised that the usual suspects in the industry didn't win. Any chance at seeing what other vendors bid? I can't imagine their costs being this high.

This doesn't sound like it's a cookie cutter install by Minuteman seeing as "Lynch says that Minuteman’s engineering capabilities are what cinched this project for the company. He’s hired six additional people, including software engineers, project management engineers and networking and general security engineers."

It's a ~$6 million dollar job, so it's not surprising they would need to hire a number of people. Also anyone who uses wacky terms like 'project management engineers' is likely spinning...

Update: They are now reportedly piloting BRS Labs with this. I guess after spending $21,000 per bus, what can you do for an encore? Pay thousands more for magic analytics....

At least they are, evidently, consistently crazy.

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