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21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Transportation Management Center Video Recording and Archiving Best General Practices

Chapter 7. Practices for Written Policies and Agreements

Agencies have varying levels of detail in written policies related to traffic cameras, if they have them at all. This chapter presents some of the highlights from policies used by agencies to give ideas of components to include when considering developing or revising policies.

Prevalence of Written Policies

As shown in figure 11, for video sharing, there is nearly an even split between Transportation Management Centers (TMC) reporting having written policies and those that do not. There were also a sizeable number of respondents who responded as being unsure. For video recording, there is a higher skew to not having written policies.

Figure 11: Chart. If existing written policies on video recording and video sharing.

Figure 11 shows the number of responding Transportation Management Centers that do and do not have written policies on video recording and video sharing.

(Source: Parsons Brinckerhoff)

Not having written policies allows for flexibility, but can occasionally lead to problems. For example, one agency without a written policy for sharing recorded video with local enforcement agencies recently faced a difficult situation. One of the Department of Transportation's (DOT) cameras caught the safe emergency landing of a small plane in a grass median. The DOT shared the clip with the local law enforcement department. Without permission of the recording/sharing agency, the law enforcement department posted the clip to its social media feed and it was picked up by mainstream media. While the clip was not damaging to any of the agencies or private parties involved, it revealed a difference in assumption of acceptable use as the DOT was not pleased.

Overview of Sample Materials

The sample materials in the appendix cover a range of types of formats and include a variety of topic areas including video sharing, video recording, and cameras policies related to privacy. A listing is in table 6.

Table 6: List of written materials in the appendix.
Agency Document Title Content Topic Areas—
Recording Video and Distributing It
Content Topic Areas—
Sharing Real-Time Video
Content Topic Areas—
Camera Policies Related to Privacy
Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Closed-Circuit Televisions (CCTV) Agreement (02/12) References that (FDOT) camera system does not record video Agreement for sharing live video geared toward media is included References sensitive images
Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) Traffic Camera Use Office Practice (8/12/15) Notes that recordings are public record even if live feed to public is cut States that video is available to the public except under extenuating circumstances Stresses traffic flow purpose; zooming out from identifying info
MnDOT Traffic Camera Imagery Recording and Distribution (12/4/12) Includes retention and distribution information empty cell empty cell
New York State Department of Transportation NYSDOT) Policy for the Design and Operation of CCTV in Advanced Traffic Management Systems (9/4/01) States that recording is only permitted under limited situations Notes that video is shared with the public, including through commercial means Emphasizes not collecting or distributing personal identifier information
Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition (NITTEC) CCTV Policy (1/1/14) Only on request of CCTV owner agency Notes that images are shared through Web site Discusses wide-angle view and not collecting personal identifier information
Oregon Department of Transportation Use of CCTV Highway Cameras (4/16/14) Notes that feeds are generally not recorded, except limited circumstance Notes that images are shared with public Lists operating guidelines to address privacy concerns
Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) "Access to Live Video Feeds and Information Sharing" (undated) empty cell Policy is to make live feeds available to the public and to government agencies empty cell
TDOT "Access Agreement for Live Video and Information Sharing—Private Entity Users" and corresponding Responder Entity Users version States that TDOT will not record video except for training and that no recordings will be provided under this agreement Includes details of TDOT and user responsibilities as well as liability and indemnity information Notes that should not purposely broadcast zoom that shows individuals or license plates
Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Is an undated template for a written agreement for using WisDOT video and/or data Mentions that if the media shows recorded video, it must be labeled with date/time Includes policies and guidelines for use and rebroadcast Notes that feed can be cut

Highlights from Video Recording and Distributing Recorded Video

As one agency that doesn’t record video commented, there isn't a policy saying the agency doesn’t record, everyone just knows it. Other agencies that don’t record have notes to the effect in frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) on their public Web sites. Some agencies mention the policy in related documents, such as how the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) real-time video sharing agreement notes that they do not record video.

The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) has a detailed closed-circuit television (CCTV) policy document that includes the following section on recording:

  1. "Except as provided for in this policy, CCTV data shall not be recorded and all data disseminated from CCTV systems shall be transferred in a real-time or limited-time-delay data feed. In all cases, recording shall only be done in a manner that protects the privacy of the public in accordance with this policy.
  2. CCTV data shall only be recorded in response to a specific need where a review of the data would contribute to improving safety and/or future traffic operations procedures or system planning and performance including:
    1. Review of a traffic operations or safety problem;
    2. Provision of a training review for future operator training;
    3. Research activities that will improve future technology or operations;
    4. Post-incident review of a particularly complex incident and emergency response for the purposes of improving operational procedures and response;
    5. Demonstrating or testing equipment or system functions; or
    6. Collection of data for transportation planning management purposes where personal identifier information is subsequently removed from the data.
  3. If a recording is made, it shall be retained in a specifically designated and secure location with access restricted by supervisory-level personnel.
  4. CCTV system data which have been recorded shall be retained only for the minimum possible time after use of the archived data for its intended purpose in accordance with the applicable Department Records Retention Authorization."

The language above is from NYSDOT's Policy for the Design and Operation of Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) in Advanced Traffic Management Systems, September 4, 2001 which is in the appendix.

Highlights from Sharing Real-Time Video

Best General Practice

Written policies for video sharing provide an opportunity to require attributing the video feed to the DOT source, including the branding of the traveler information service if desired.

One relatively common feature of agreements for sharing video is that the Department of Transportation (DOT) is acknowledged. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) has detailed language covering multiple formats, including social media:

  • "Any time WisDOT-provided video or data is broadcast via TV or other digital sources (including use on Web sites and social media applications), WisDOT should be acknowledged as the source either verbally, or by a graphic image of the WisDOT logo along with the picture.
  • The WisDOT logo must appear on all broadcasted camera images. A broadcast-ready version of WisDOT's triskelion logo will be provided to you. Please ensure that the logo is visible and large enough to be clearly identifiable when using the camera images. Please also ensure that your corporate news channel banner does not conflict with the placement of the WisDOT logo."

The FDOT also influences what is around their video images, noting that "The Department requests that the Requestor provide a disclaimer of any Department endorsement of any advertising located near the video images." (Closed-Circuit Televisions (CCTV) Agreement, 2/12)

For entities to access FDOT's real-time video feeds, they install equipment at FDOT facilities to tie into the Department's video matrix switch. Their CCTV agreement contains many requirements for this connection, including that there is an initial $1,000 fee and an annual fee of $500 to cover coordination, security, and logistics.

NYSDOT's statements on video sharing emphasize the purpose of the sharing and notes:

"The Department may also distribute CCTV data directly to the public via the Internet or other means for the purpose of providing traveler information. The Department shall take all reasonable efforts to ensure that any CCTV data disseminated in this manner shall not provide personal identifier information as previously defined in this policy. The sole purpose of providing such data shall be for the dissemination of traveler information to facilitate traffic management and the efficient balancing of transportation infrastructure demand and supply and all such uses and dissemination shall be consistent with statewide regulations, and this policy." (Policy for the Design and Operation of Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) in Advanced Traffic Management Systems, September 4, 2001)

The Tennessee Department of Transportation's (TDOT)> written agreements for real-time video sharing leverage the desire of emergency response entities and private entities for the video into actions that support the DOT's traffic management goals. The access agreements for both emergency responders and for private entities include user responsibilities to:

  • Notify TDOT of unexpected incidents, such as crashes, roadway debris, or traffic signal failures. For any incidents where TDOT or the Tennessee Highway Patrol are not already on scene, notification is to be made within 10 minutes of noticing the incident.
  • Collaborate with TDOT for traffic management of planned events.

The access agreement for emergency responder entities further requires:

  • Active participation in the National Traffic Incident Management (TIM) Responder Training Program, including that within one year of signing the agreement, any employee of the agency responding to the scene of the incident shall have attended on four-hour, in-person training session.
  • Support for abiding by the safe and quick clearance approach.
  • Active participation in TDOT's quarterly Regional TIM meetings, including providing the names of a primary individual and backup with authority to speak on behalf of the agency who will participate.

The access agreement for private entities invites them to:

  • Participate in TDOT's quarterly Regional TIM.
  • Attend TIM training.

Involving the media in TIM can be mutually beneficial during major incidents when news trucks are on scene, such as for agreeing on places to park and knowing who may be sharing information.

Highlights on Privacy and Interaction with Law Enforcement

Oregon DOT's (ODOT) "Use of CCTV Highway Cameras" has a thorough list of operating guidelines geared to "respect for the privacy concerns of the public." It includes language on keeping cameras zoomed out when possible that is similar to many other policies. It also has language related to overlap with law enforcement and also related to recording video. The complete list is:

Best General Practice

Leverage written agreements for real-time video streaming to emergency responders and the media for:

  • Notifying lead agency of incidents, debris on roadways, signal outages, etc.
  • Participating in TIM training.
  • Support of safe quick-clearance.
  1. "CCTV cameras will be set to view public right-of-way and zoomed out to view a sizable portion of the highway when not in use.
  2. CCTV cameras will only be used to zoom in close enough to gather necessary information. Cameras will not be used to zoom in on individuals, especially where injuries are involved.
  3. CCTV cameras will not be used to view the general public when not associated with an ODOT or law enforcement operation.
  4. CCTV cameras will not be used to view any part of privately owned property; homes, businesses, etc.
  5. CCTV cameras will not be used to zoom in on law enforcement activities occurring on or off the highways. Cameras may be used to aid law enforcement or provide additional eyes for safety. Cameras must be zoomed out or away immediately once requested assistance is rendered or sufficient officers to control the situation are on scene.
  6. CCTV data will generally not be recorded or archived. Exceptions include cameras installed specifically for security and occasional recording for research or traffic analysis needs. Recorded images are considered public information and can be used as evidence."

The Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition's (NITTEC) CCTV policy also includes the following language on when personal identifying video may be shared, "In the event of a public health danger or safety emergency, NITTEC may provide personal identifier information to such other public partner and/or entities as may be necessary to prevent, limit or mitigate such emergency."

The NYSDOT defines "Personal Identifier Information" as any data (including video) that:

  1. "identifies an individual, drivers or passengers.
  2. identifies license plate of vehicles.
  3. identifies contents of the enclosed interior of passenger vehicles.
  4. tracks the individual travel pattern of a specific vehicle."

Highlights on Legal Issues

Legal issues vary by State so any included language should be vetted by the appropriate legal authorities. The following samples are provided to illustrate how some States have addressed issues.

The FDOT quotes statues Sections 119.07(2)(a) and 119.07(2)(c) as authorizing the DOT to remote electronic access and authorizing fees to be collected for the service.

The FDOT uses the following language on video availability and risks for using the video:

"The Department does not guarantee the continuity of the video images, nor does it in any way warrant the accuracy or quality of the images provided.

The risk of use of the images is the sole responsibility of Requestor and it agrees to be fully and solely responsible for and to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless, the Department, its agents, officers, and employees from any and all claims, damages, suits, actions or other proceedings for damages arising out of or in any way associated with the use of the video images by Requestor or in any way arising out of or associated with the placement or removal or failure to remove its equipment."

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