MTA tests motion sensing lasers, thermal image cameras to save fallen straphangers from subway trains
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A pilot program to evaluate four 'intrusion detection' systems on the city's subways is about to begin. Riders are hailing the systems, which will alert the Rail Control Center and approaching motormen when riders fall, jump or are pushed onto the tracks.
The MTA is pulling out all the stops.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is about to start testing motion sensors, thermal image cameras and other high-tech gear in hopes of bringing subway trains to a screeching halt when somebody ends up on the tracks, the Daily News has learned.
The agency will evaluate four separate “intrusion detection” systems designed to transmit live video to the Rail Control Center when a rider falls, jumps or is pushed to the tracks, officials said. Each system is also designed to activate trackside signals that tell approaching motormen to apply the brakes.
Officials are unsure of how well the systems will work in the harsh subway environment, but the pilot program is the MTA’s most ambitious effort yet to curb the troubling carnage that has bloodied the tracks for years.
The MTA wouldn’t give additional details on the test program, which will take place at one undisclosed station.
Transit officials, however, described four basic systems and strategies:
• Closed-circuit television cameras and “intelligent video” computer software that recognizes when a large object moves from the platform to the tracks.
• A web of laser beams that stretches across the tracks that, when broken, triggers an alarm and other components.
• Radio frequencies transmitted across the tracks just beneath the platform edge.
• Thermal-image cameras, which identify the heat emitted from a person, focused on the station’s tracks.
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