CTA Enhances Security Efforts with Security Camera Network

September 9, 2005


CTA Enhances Security Efforts
with Security Camera Network

As part of the City's update on increased security measures, Chicago Transit Authority officials today announced a significant milestone in the CTA's ongoing effort to increase safety and security on its rail system. The agency recently completed a key portion of its systemwide fiber optic expansion that now allows CTA to connect security cameras along the 54th/Cermak branch of the Blue Line to its Control Center. This new connection will also allow CTA to link to the City's 9-1-1 Center network of security cameras once the City completes the necessary technological upgrade later this year.

'security cameras are an increasingly important component of enhancing security on our system because they serve as a deterrent to crime and assist law enforcement in identifying perpetrators. They also provide additional information to our operations staff in the event of a service disruption," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. "The networking of this first set of cameras aligns with the City's overall effort to increase the presence of security cameras throughout Chicago."

Security cameras at 11 rail station on the 54th/Cermak branch of the Blue Line are the first to connect to the Control Center where both live and recorded images can be viewed. As additional fiber optic installation is completed over the next few years, cameras currently on the CTA system as well as new cameras will be added to the network. By the end of 2006, CTA's security camera network will include approximately 1,200 cameras at 48 stations. Ultimately, CTA's network will feed directly into the 9-1-1 Center. When completed, the link between CTA's Control Center and the City's 9-1-1 Center will be part of the Office of Emergency Management Communication's larger Homeland Security grid that is designed to expand the use of surveillance cameras throughout Chicago.

"Although CTA already coordinates efforts with the 9-1-1 Center, linking the two systems of security cameras will further enhance our ability to share information as well as coordinate with the City during an emergency," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown. "We operate an expansive system throughout the city and suburbs--50 bus routes, 144 rail stations, elevated, subway and ground level--so it will take time to network the entire system, but this first group of stations is a significant step in the right direction and lays the groundwork for the connection to the 9-1-1 Center."

CTA has been implementing its plan to install and network security cameras throughout its system over the past several years. In fall 2002, CTA launched a $300,000 security camera pilot project at four rail stations: Roosevelt and 95th on the Red Line; Kedzie on the Green Line; and 35th/Archer on the Orange Line. The purpose of the pilot was to determine the best security camera technology for rail stations, placement of cameras and applications for information provided by the cameras.

All new rail stations, such as those recently renovated on the Blue Line's 54th/Cermak branch and the prior renovation of the Green Line, include fiber optics to allow networking of security cameras. In addition, the Blue Line from O'Hare to Jackson, the Red Line from Howard to Roosevelt and the Orange Line have all undergone fiber optic upgrades. New fiber optic installation is underway as part of current rehabilitation projects on the Dan Ryan branch of the Red Line, the Brown Line and as part of CDOT's renovation of the State Street subway. To date, there are cameras at 17 stations including the 11 now networked to the Control Center.

Two additional stations are set to get cameras and become part of the network in the next few months--Clinton station on the Forest Park branch of the Blue Line and Lake/Randolph in the State Street subway.

In addition, CTA has embarked on two key infrastructure projects that will result in increasing the number of cameras on the network. The first is a $31 million communication upgrade which started this summer and includes installation of fiber optic cable and equipment at CTA rail stations, facilities and along tracks on the Yellow, Purple, Orange and Loop Elevated Lines, as well as on the O'Hare branch of the Blue Line and at Howard on the Red Line. The project is expected to take two years to complete.

The second is a $12.7 million subway security project that calls for the installation of security cameras at 22 subway stations and non-public areas. When complete at the end of 2006, nearly 800 security cameras will have been installed as part of this project and will then be added to the network.

CTA's entire bus fleet is equipped with security cameras. CTA began retrofitting buses with security cameras in 1998 and new buses purchased since then have all come equipped with cameras. By the end of 2003, all CTA buses were equipped with cameras which have helped deter vandalism and graffiti, and assisted law enforcement in investigating incidents and apprehending perpetrators. Acknowledging the importance of security cameras, CTA included security cameras as part of the criteria in the bid specifications for new rail cars. Bids for manufacturers of new rail cars are currently under review with delivery not expected before 2008.

Fiber optic technology enhances communication systems because it carries more information, more reliably, with clearer audio and video reception. In addition to transmitting voice and data needs for phone services, public address systems and fare collection, fiber optic installation serves as the basis for expanding the use of security cameras on the system. As more fiber optics are installed or upgraded, and funding becomes available for security cameras, CTA will continue to expand its network.

Aside from capital construction projects, where the cost of security cameras is included as part of the renovation, CTA needs an additional $20 million to install security cameras at all remaining rail stations and to connect them to the network.

Funding for fiber optic installation is provided by a combination of grants from the Department of Homeland Security, other federal funding and Regional Transportation Authority bonds.


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