Content warning: Please be aware that this article talks about death by suicide and suicide prevention.
It is a tragic fact that many thousands of deaths occur each year where individuals put themselves in the path of a moving train. And rail networks all over the world are working to tackle an issue that is deeply distressing and traumatising for passengers, rail workers, train drivers and the families of those who heartbreakingly see this as their only option.
At one such network – a major U.S. metropolitan public transit organisation – police officers, control centre teams and operations managers are being supported by pioneers in video analytics technology, BriefCam – a Canon company. As you might expect, these subways and the passengers who use them are well served by a network of hundreds of cameras. However, the control rooms that monitor them are typically only staffed by one or two people and their capacity to spot every single instance of an individual moving towards or, oftentimes, lying down on the tracks is limited through no fault of their own.
Equally, it can be exceptionally difficult to assess a person’s intentions on a screen or for human eyes to identify someone who is just a little too close to the edge of a platform as a potential risk. A recent study of fatalities at stations found that those who attempted to end their lives in this way took a significant amount of time before they made their last move. This fact alone opens an important window of opportunity to save lives.
And the window that this transport organisation chose is polygonal.