Philippine National Railways boosts safety with AI-powered video system 

Photo courtesy of Philippines Department of Transportation

An advanced video security system from Motorola Solutions has enabled Philippine National Railways (PNR) to continue operating safely throughout the global pandemic while enhancing the rail operator’s long term security and flexibility. 

Carrying more than 60,000 passengers each day across a network spanning 78 kilometres, PNR provides a popular mode of transport in this Southeast Asian country. 

Although the system was initially deployed to identify potential safety risks such as damage to boom gate barriers, it has given the state-run rail operator the edge in identifying and preventing the potential spread of COVID-19 across its operations. 

The solution incorporates 200 ultra high definition cameras across all of PNR’s railway stations with advanced, AI-powered video analytics. 

The video analytics system features thermal imaging software to identify passengers and employees with indications of elevated body temperature before they enter railway facilities. 

The technology also helps PNR to determine if passengers are wearing face masks and adhering to social distancing policies, and provides valuable evidence to support contact tracing efforts. 

PNR assistant general manager Celeste D. Lauta said the video security system provided her organisation with the increased awareness and confidence it needed to continue operating safely throughout the pandemic. 

“This project was initially conceived as a security management tool, but because of COVID-19, it has paved the way for us to make our rail organisation more resilient,” Lauta said. 

“We once used handheld thermographic scanners to read body temperatures which was a labour- and time-intensive process,” she added. “Now we have a solution that is contactless, efficient and alerts control room operators to potential risks so they can decide the best way to respond.” 

The innovative technology also supports an initiative of  the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) — “BIDA Solusyon sa COVID-19” — which encourages Filipinos to take an active role in preventing the spread of COVID-19 by adhering to public health measures. 

Graham Wheeler, Motorola Solutions’ vice president for video security and access control in Asia Pacific, said the rail sector and other essential industries had gained long-term benefits from video security technologies deployed during the pandemic. 

“The past two years have proven that operational risks and opportunities are constantly changing,” Wheeler said. 

“AI-enabled video security systems are highly flexible, scalable and can be adapted to provide situational awareness and safety in a variety of different situations,” he added.