SP&T News

IP-based access control for public transit systems

Much is expected of access control systems in order to safeguard passengers and staff at major metropolitan transportation systems. Today’s IP-based, networked access control systems provide a centralized, web-based approach for monitoring all stations and site equipment in real time, while simplifying management and report generation.

June 18, 2013  By Eric Widlitz

IP-based access control meets a variety of important needs for metro rail and other transit operations. For instance, public transport system operators must be able to prevent unauthorized entry and closely manage access to all stations and electrical substations, as well as the parking lots and major facilities at metro line sections. The same systems must also protect equipment and staff at key locations including fixed plants, offices, equipment areas, machine rooms and automatic fare collection (AFC) system management offices, as well as the central station, communications equipment rooms and many other public areas. It may also be important to centrally monitor all passage areas and key locations where equipment management facilities are housed.
Finally, access control systems also must frequently span an extensive network, and accommodate cardholder information from various entry points using a wide range of access control rules that all must be transmitted to the central station. 
IP access control provides an effective solution by offering a centralized, top-to-bottom, web-based access control system with which to monitor all stations and site equipment in real time. Readers can be installed where needed, and connected to a network controller for central access management and report generation. All central management functions can be performed at the metro line control centre, which consists of a central server, an access authority management station, a central station, and all associated system software. With this solution, the central station administrator can track and manage door access in all metro stations, improving flexibility and speeding response to network failures.
Meanwhile, controllers enable every metro station office to monitor its own system’s real-time status, entry records and card access information. Both the control centre and station offices are connected to the central server via TCP/IP for data transmission. Remote computers can be deployed at high security level zones, with the administrator manually controlling access. A controller is used for station access management, and if communication with the host is lost, each station control centre can independently operate using a reader interface. In this way, metro station offices can work independently when they are offline with the central station.   
Today’s IP-based, networked access control solutions fulfill the need for top-to-bottom management capabilities at metropolitan transportation systems.  Administrators can track door access in all metro stations, check event logs and remotely control access to entry points.  This approach assures maximum flexibility and the fastest possible response to network failures, with all operations protected by multi-layered security and fail-over support.
Eric Widlitz is the managing director of identity and access management, Americas with HID Global.

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