CTA to Test Mobile Security Network to Enhance Safety on System

March 16, 2006
3/16/06

As part of the Chicago Transit Authority's continual efforts to enhance safety and security on its system, today the Chicago Transit Board approved a contract to establish a pilot to test a mobile security network capable of streaming real time video from buses directly to emergency response vehicles, such as Chicago Police Department Public Transportation police cars, CTA vehicles and to the CTA's Control Center.

?Today's action allows the CTA to further refine emergency preparedness and response plans," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown. ?By continually upgrading our communications infrastructure, we are able to incorporate state-of-the-art technologies that enhance our abilities to provide a secure environment for our customers and employees."

For the pilot, CTA will use 50 buses that operate along the #56 Milwaukee and #62 Archer routes, 16 transit police cars, approximately four CTA first responder vehicles and some rail stations. The test pilot will begin near the end of 2006 once installation of necessary equipment is complete.

"We are continuing to seek new ways to maintain a safe and secure bus and rail system," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?The mobile security network will be able to transmit images of emergency situations on a CTA bus to emergency personnel so they can fully understand the situation and develop an immediate and thorough response plan."

The system involves connecting a wireless transmitter to the security cameras located on CTA buses. The transmitter can send images to nearby vehicles equipped with receivers and monitors which allow emergency personnel in the vehicles to view activity occurring on the bus as it happens. The images can also be transmitted to the Control Center for viewing via the same transmitting devices that will be installed at rail stations. Images can travel to the rail station devices and then across the CTA's existing fiber optic communications network that directly links rail stations with the CTA's Control Center.

During the pilot, CTA will test the feasibility of the system for approximately a six- month period.

Local government agencies including Cook County also are developing wireless security networks using the same type of transmitting devices which they will install throughout their jurisdictions. This potential partnership can create an expanded infrastructure of transmitting devices that can be shared among the agencies, greatly increasing the networks capability for transmitting wireless images, without creating separate duplicative networks.

Cook County conducted a competitive Request for Proposals solicitation process and subsequently entered into an agreement with IBM Global Services. CTA is using the results of this competitive process to award a $2.4 million contract to IBM for implementation of a mobile security system. IBM Global Services is installing the wireless network for Cook County; CTA determined that it was disadvantageous to public bidding to advertise a contract for the project. Also, CTA's Management and Operations Transformation consultant, AECOM Consult recommends using other governmental contracts wherever possible.

All CTA buses have been equipped with security cameras (that record images for later review) since 2003. CTA activated a security camera network that links stations to the CTA Control Center and the City's 9-1-1 Center. Currently, CTA has 362 security cameras at 26 stations. Additional stations continue to be added and will eventually include all stations as funding becomes available.

Funding for the Mobile Security Network pilot is provided by a grant from the Department of Homeland Security.

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