On-board Video Security Captures Heroes in Action
For as long as there have been buses, there have been bus operators who’ve been going the extra mile to serve transit passengers. These everyday acts of kindness and consideration are much appreciated but have rarely been acknowledged outside of individual transit agencies and communities. That is, until the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) instituted the MCTS Excellence program.
A Feel-good Story
It all started in 2016 with the deployment of the RoadRunner high-definition (HD) on-board video security system furnished by Luminator Technology Group (formerly Apollo Video Technology). MCTS’s chief marketing and communications officer quickly realized the HD video was perfect for highlighting operator safety and performance, as well as their extraordinary good deeds. As a former reporter for Milwaukee’s WISN-TV news, he knew such video documentation would produce the feel-good stories TV news directors and the local community were hungry for.
The first MCTS Excellence video to go viral showed operator Karen Martinez-Casper stopping to rescue a little boy walking down the sidewalk in bare feet one chilly October morning. Since then, many MCTS Excellence videos have gone viral, even making national news headlines. One of the most watched videos shows operator Irena Ivic rescuing a lost toddler who was wandering on a freeway overpass alone in a onesie and a diaper just days before Christmas 2018.
MCTS estimates that the most popular videos in the Excellence program have earned as many as 800 million views, not including the additional views garnered when a news outlet such as CNN picks up the video and streams it through their own digital platforms. More important than the number of views, however, is the positive impact the MCTS Excellence program is having on the greater Milwaukee community.
Milwaukee’s Friendly Heroes
In MCTS’s annual passenger survey, mass transit riders were asked to rate the friendliness of bus drivers. Year-over-year, MCTS has seen a significant increase in friendliness ratings. Bus operators have come to be known as the “friendly heroes” of Milwaukee. In recognition of their heroism, the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, and the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks basketball team have presented MCTS operators with official awards, honors and commendations.
None of this would be possible without the system’s on-board video security solution.
“Having the high-definition video and being able to access it easily allowed the program to quickly gain traction,” said Matt Sliker, integrated marketing manager at MCTS.
Thanks to the system’s easy to use and robust back-end software, the agency can quickly identify, download and securely transfer these extraordinary events within MCTS, to local law enforcement and to the news media.
“The MCTS Excellence video series is showcasing our incredible team, bringing positive attention to the entire industry and shining a spotlight on public transportation’s vital role in our community,” said MCTS Managing Director Dan Boehm.
The program is a great example of how new technologies and savvy marketing strategies can make a real impact on a transit agency and a community.