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Clever cameras detect drunken railway passengers in Japan


Public transportation is often the safest way to get home after an extended happy hour session -- unless you fall onto the tracks. While that doesn't seem like something that would happen very frequently, it is an issue in Japan where 221 people were hit by trains in 2013. With 60 percent of those injuries being a result of drunkenness, railway company JR West has taken steps to ensure passenger safety by equipping the Kyobashi Station with surveillance cameras.

The surveillance cameras (46 in all) will look for signs of inebriation among passengers on the platform, including weaving across the platform (an obvious tell), or staying on a bench for an extended period of time. (What? I just liked this bench.) The surveillance cameras will then alert a station attendant to check and see if the individual needs help. The cameras will not be used to identify people in any way.

Currently the cameras are only in place at the Kyobashi Station, which is on the busy Osaka Loop Line. The station is located near the major commercial and business district of Umeda; during peak hours trains on this line run as frequently as every two minutes. Should the cameras succeed in increasing passenger safety, JR West is prepared to install them in additional stations.

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