New York signs pact to boost transit security

The $212M project includes rollout of software, cameras and sensors citywide

New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) last week said it has chosen Lockheed Martin Corp. to be the prime contractor on a $212 million project to bolster security across all of its facilities.

Under a three-year contract, Lockheed Martin will develop and deploy an infrastructure-protection system that will use thousands of cameras, as well as intelligent video and sensor technologies, to monitor New York's subway system, commuter-rail platforms, and highway bridges and tunnels.

The integrated command, communications and control capabilities that the project will deliver should "harden" the transit system against future terror attacks, Bill Morange, the MTA's security director, said in a statement.

The authority's effort to bolster security comes just weeks after July's terrorist bombings in London. The attacks there raised concerns about the vulnerability of commuter-rail and mass-transit systems in the U.S. and the IT challenges involved in protecting them .

Charles Patterson, a member of the transportation security council at ASIS International, an Alexandria, Va.-based trade association for security professionals, called the New York plan one of the most advanced transit-security initiatives undertaken in the U.S.

"I think it's a very good and a very significant step in the right direction," he said.

"As far as I know, it's the only large-scale systems integration initiative [of its sort] in the country," Greg Hull, director of operational safety and security at the American Public Transportation Association in Washington, said via e-mail.

Lockheed Martin is the prime security contractor for the MTA.

Lockheed Martin is the prime security contractor for the MTA.

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Rochester, N.Y.-based Lenel Systems International Inc. will provide the software supporting core applications such as the access control, alarm monitoring and digital video surveillance systems. The MTA will also use technologies from vendors such as Arinc Inc., Skanska USA Civil Inc. and Intergraph Corp.

The new system will give the MTA "a common operational picture" across all of its facilities, said Mark Bonatucci, program manager for the initiative at Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin.

Each command center will be equipped with a bank of video screens for displaying feeds from cameras and sensors and showing satellite and image-based displays of MTA facilities. Alarms and alerts will be automatically forwarded to the centers for analysis, and Bonatucci said the video screens will give workers recommended courses of action for handling situations.

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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