December 2, 2006

Pilot Program Expands Technology to Enhance System Security

Mayor Richard M. Daley, Chicago Transit Authority and Chicago Police Department officials today demonstrated a pilot for a Mobile Security Network--the latest in state-of-the-art technology CTA is testing to enhance the safety and security of its rail and bus system.

"Chicago is a leader in the use of surveillance cameras to deter and detect crime, and today we're testing a new mobile camera network to combat criminal behavior on the CTA bus and rail system and help improve the overall safety and security of CTA customers," said Mayor Daley.

The pilot will begin in mid-December and will be tested on 40 buses, 13 Chicago Police Department (CPD) Public Transportation Section police cars, CTA's Incident Command bus, CTA supervisory and security vehicles and fixed locations at select rail stations and two garages. CTA is testing the feasibility of the system for approximately six months.

The Mobile Security Network uses a wireless transmitter to send live images from existing cameras on CTA buses to laptops in vehicles such as CPD's Public Transportation Section cars, CTA supervisory vehicles, and to CTA's Control Center.

The vehicles used in the pilot are equipped with antennas and a network system that attaches to the laptop, allowing the individuals inside to view images on the laptop monitor. The pilot vehicles need only be within 600 feet of a wireless transmitter in order to receive images.

Images also can be transmitted from the existing fiber optic network that connects cameras at CTA rail stations. The receivers connected to the laptops allow vehicles such as police cars at street level to view images from the subway or elevated platform when they are near a wireless transmitter at a rail station.

"We continue to invest in technology and revise and update our procedures as new information, resources and technologies are available to further improve safety; and we work cooperatively with city, state and federal officials," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. "The mobile security network expands the capabilities of security cameras on our buses and allows emergency personnel to assess situations and respond quickly when warranted."

CTA's security camera network currently has the capability to transmit live images from several CTA stations and platforms to CTA's Control Center and the Office of Emergency Management and Communications. To date, more than 600 cameras have been installed at 35 stations with approximately 400 cameras at 23 stations currently sending live images. By the end of 2006, more than 1,000 cameras will be installed at 49 stations on CTA's rail system. Cameras will be added at more stations as funding becomes available.

Additionally, the new rail cars currently on order will have seven cameras on each rail car. The prototype of the new rail cars is due to arrive in 2008, with delivery of rail cars for service expected to begin in 2010.

"World events have demonstrated how security cameras can be used to deter crime and terrorism, and to apprehend those involved," said CTA Chairman Carole Brown. "This mobile security network is CTA's latest effort to combat criminal behavior on the CTA bus and rail system as we work to improve the overall security for CTA customers."

A two-year $31 million communications upgrade to the fiber optic network of CTA's rail communication system is currently under way. Fiber optics are necessary to support the security camera network and to transmit the data, voice and video needs of CTA. When completed in 2007, the upgrade will increase the CTA's capacity for transporting key information from track level to the Control Center. The Control Center will be able to better coordinate service planning and strategic response to service interruptions.

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 thereby 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 used the results of that competitive process to award the $2.4 million contract to IBM for implementation of the mobile security system. Funding for the Mobile Security Network pilot is provided by a grant from the Department of Homeland Security.


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