Actia has been working with NCT since 2003 to develop an industry-leading CCTV system

When Actia began working with Nottingham City Transport to evaluate their brand new “BOP” digital CCTV recorder back in 2003, this was a new venture for both parties. Over the last decade, the system has seen a number of revisions and improvements, and BOP is now used across the fleet to underpin NCT’s strategy for protecting its operation, vehicles, drivers and passengers.

Unlike many other providers offering third party recorders, Actia design and manufacture their own CCTV recorders and have therefore been able to offer NCT the opportunity to influence system features and functionality over time. “We partnered with Actia from the very beginning,” explains NCT CCTV co-ordinator Dave Tucker, “and were able to specify various requirements early on, which was ideal for us.”

Now 10 years on, NCT has one of the most advanced and comprehensive CCTV systems – not only in terms of on-vehicle specification, but also in their back-office control centre and data management processes. A reliable system, high capture rate and efficient infrastructure are key to managing the high number of incidents monitored by NCT every year – nearly 4,000 in 2012 alone. Today the operator specifies BOP HD – Actia’s 25 frames per second D1 H.264 DVR. “28 days recording is a necessity for us, and BOP HD provides this at a continuous high frame rate, although this is dependent upon the daily usage,” confirms Tucker. “We live in a claim culture so it is important we have footage available for as long as possible after the event. The in-cab alarm system (which we requested in the beginning) is also essential in protecting incident footage from overwriting.”

BOP has a proven record for NCT and is frequently used as evidence in cases of vandalism, antisocial behaviour, RTCs, and sometimes exaggerated or fraudulent insurance claims. Vandalism and driver assaults have reduced significantly since installing CCTV systems. Evidence of RTCs and other non-company related incidents are regularly requested by police and footage from BOP has played a part in supporting the city’s ‘Respect for Transport’ campaign and the operator’s ‘Quit the Spit’ initiative. The system is also present on NCT’s ‘Trojan’ Bus, which is used to target areas where smashed windows and other acts of vandalism are particularly problematic.

Actia design their own Reviewer Software, and responding to feedback from NCT, developed a user friendly, powerful interface to look back on recorded footage. The Reviewer now provides an advanced user interface for viewing up to 16 cameras simultaneously, synched with audio recordings, GPS fix and vehicle data from the multiplex system, such as the status of brakes, doors, indicators and speed. It also incorporates export capability (both video and camera snapshot), to ensure the system can be used effectively as evidence when an incident has occurred.

With a large number of Optare Solos and Versas, and the recent introduction of Alexander Dennis Enviro200s, a large proportion of NCT’s fleet is equipped with Actia MultiBUS. The multiplex system has provided the core power management for more than 16,000 vehicles over the last decade or so, and will soon see the introduction of a next generation solution for greater functionality and features. Many of NCT’s 350-strong fleet have been fitted with CCTV in the factory, and benefit from Actia’s integrated approach.
BOP was specified on the new Enviro200s, together with the introduction of the first integrated CCTV switchpack controls for ADL. This designed-in feature has been in use on NCT’s many Optares since 2008. Integration with the multiplex system, switchpack and in-dash TFT makes for greater functionality and less clutter in the driver area.

Actia’s latest Eco-Fleet® telematics technology is being considered by the operator. The system may be used to target a 100% CCTV incident capture rate, by remotely identifying camera faults or components requiring attention such as the hard drive. This would ensure maximum uptime of the system, and avoid the discovery of a faulty camera after an incident. Actia are already in discussions with NCT regarding the inclusion of driver behaviour monitoring and other telematics features, as well as potential integration with third party systems for data collection and management.

When it comes to vehicle maintenance as a whole, NCT, like many operators around the country, already use Actia’s Multi-AID® diagnostics for fault-finding on equipment connected to the multiplex system. Recent developments mean that Actia’s telematics and remote diagnostics may be integrated into the operator’s maintenance procedures to maximise vehicle-in-service time. From remote monitoring of basic fault codes, to the unique Multi-AID® Remote, which offers a live two-way link between the depot and the vehicle (even if the vehicle is located many miles from the depot), the operator can maximise what may be a limited engineering resource. Such advancements offer a real potential to reduce the costs associated with downtime, so the right engineer is called out just once, and with the right parts.

“Thanks to our long-standing relationship with NCT, Actia has developed a clear understanding of the business and operational needs of major fleet operators,” explains Actia sales manager for fleets and services, Mike Oliver. “NCT’s requirement for enhancements and specific features means we are now able to deliver a CCTV system which has really been defined by a bus operator for bus operators, complete with the benefits of integration with our multiplex system. We are pleased to be working with NCT to explore further possibilities for integration – including working with third party suppliers. We continue to look for ways to improve our solution to fulfil NCT’s operational requirements and future-proof their investment in Actia.”


This article appears in a special supplement on Nottingham City Transport, published with Passenger Transport this month.
Click here to view the supplement!