CCTV human factors guidelines

A CCTV system (Closed Circuit TeleVision) consist of a chain, running from the outside world via cameras, transmission, displays, image presentation, and desks to the operator. This chain is as strong as its weakest link.

With the numbers of security cameras growing and networks speeding up, the human operator determines what to expect from a CCTV system. A single fiber optic can transport hundreds of images. But who is capable of watching them all?

Well established Human Factor (HF) guidelines exist for the design of control rooms in general. However, these guidelines do not address CCTV.

Intergo human factors & ergonomics, ErgoS, VHP-HP and  ICA-HAN University initiated a research project together with 14 supporting organisations, focussing on the question: What should an operator be able to see, detect or infer from a CCTV image? And what are the requirements such as a CCTV system should comply with? The research project resulted in human factors guidelines for the design of CCTV systems.  

General guidelines

The first phase of the research was a literature survey. Some 40 sources were studied. It became clear that solid guidelines for working with CCTV were not available.

Eight different CCTV control centers were systematically analysed with help of a protocol. We also performed an experiment into the judgement of the quality of camera images.

The result is a draft document containing 63 HF guidelines that can also be applied to verification and validation. This document is in line with the structure of the related ISO11064 standard for control rooms. It contains the following sections:

  1. Project ergonomics (= the Human Factors design process)
  2. The CCTV system specification (= system specification)
  3. Field equipment (technical considerations)
  4. Control room layout and workplace design 
  5. Image presentation and interaction design

The guidelines have been converted to a final version now.

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Supplement: Scenes as a workload measure

A study was carried out into the allowable number of images an operator can handle. Here we introduced the concept of ‘scene’: a more or less coherent and logical set of images used as a measure of workload, and related to task characteristics. On the basis of a literature survey and a theoretical framework on the complexity of images, three cases were analysed.

This resulted in:

  • A description of the concept of scene
  • Guidelines to design scenes
  • A flowchart to determine the acceptable workload, expressed as the allowable number of scenes.

Request the document:


  • Saab H.I.T.T. Traffic
  • IHC Dredgers / IHC Beaver Dredgers
  • Nedap Security Management
  • Dutch Railways NS Concern safety, dep. Security
  • ProRail ICT Services
  • Royal Haskoning DHV
  • Total E&P Netherlands B.V.
  • Vopak Management Netherlands B.V.
  • Waterschap Hollandse Delta
  • DG-Organisatie Bedrijfsvoering Rijk
  • Province North-Holland
  • Dutch tax and customs administration 
  • Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment 
  • Human factors in control forum (Norway)