Managing a control room with 24/7 video surveillance is a significant task, especially when the room surveys a bustling transportation system and protects the safety of millions of people every day.
The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), home to one of the largest control rooms in North America, oversees four subway lines, 11 streetcar routes, and more than 140 bus routes. 1.6 million people travel via the system each day, and as the largest referrer to 911, Transit Control workers are responsible for maintaining order in an emergency.
The TTC Control Room is vast and intricate, holding 98 employees, 22 per shift, and working 24/7 to monitor the trains.
Performing a technology upgrade in a room such as this requires the same amount of dedication as the operation itself. Not long ago, the TTC was working from a 15-year-old surveillance system and knew it was time to bring their system up to date.
The organization needed reliable digital signage, surveillance monitors, and a custom design that worked the strengths of the room. So it brought in Advanced, a leading systems integrator in Canada, to design a solution that worked for the TTC and perform the installation.
“Advanced is honored to have been selected from a pool of elite Canadian integrators for this critical project,” says Advanced co-president David Weatherhead. “The TTC’s Control Room oversees the safety of 460 million passengers annually. Utilizing dependable technology is essential in order to make sure everything runs smoothly.”
Aiming for Innovation
The Toronto Transit Commission wanted to incorporate the most dependable and innovative video wall display possible for the Control Room. Advanced knew it had to be dependable, low-maintenance and easily serviceable. The video wall also had to matched precisely to the concave curvature of the wall to give operators the best view of all screens. And it had to guarantee 24/7 footage of the transit system at all times.
Advanced chose an 80” Delta Displays LED cube video wall system, powered by rear projection. The video wall is broken into different sections, or ‘cubes,’ with each cube displaying four separate camera feeds. Each cube operates independently, so if one cube has technical difficulties, the rest of the wall remains functional.
The LED light source ensures that no lamps will need to be replaced over the lifespan of the display, and Delta’s power engines are known to be extremely robust and durable. The new rear projection cubes are smaller than the previous systems’, so “each new cube had to be custom matched with two sections flanking each side,” according to Advanced.
“Most importantly, the video wall is easily field serviceable, as it provides rear access to the displays without affecting the image presented at the front. Therefore, we can change or repair a cube without affecting the rest of the video wall, which is extremely important in this type of operation,” says Mark McPherson, vice president of Advanced.
24/7 Means 24/7
The TTC couldn’t halt the monitoring of the city’s transit system for even one second while the Control Room was under construction. So in the interim between the TTC’s old system and the new Delta Displays video wall, Advanced provided a temporary seamless NEC LCD ultra-narrow bezel video wall during the installation process.
With the temporary wall, employees could continue to monitor Toronto’s public transport system at any given time, with no interruptions.
The timing on this project was tricky as well. The Control Room is busiest during the day, so the Advanced team had to work through the night to avoid busy transit times, like Toronto’s rush hour.
“Our integration staff was fully briefed on the TTC Control Room’s schedule and unique requirements. All of this work was done in the wee hours of the morning,” McPherson added.
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