The security of passengers travelling on the L.A. Metro was increased his month after the operator introduced a Transportation Security Administration (TSA)-approved security scanner that can detect weapons and explosives. The first surface transport agency to have installed such advanced detection technology, the Thruvision TAC-TS4 will be placed across the city’s network and can isolate and will alert security officials to the presence of person-borne improvised explosive devices and both metallic and non-metallic objects.
Testing has been taking place for a year on the system that identifies objects that block the naturally-occurring waves produced by a person’s body. When an object is hidden in clothing or strapped to a person, these waves are blocked and detected by the system’s software, said the TSA. When something is detected the computer software creates either a black spot on the area of the body where the item is concealed or overlays a colour indicator.
According to Thruvision, the manufacturers of the security scanning system, the ultra-powerful camera uses patented, passive terahertz technology that can create real-time imagery of items concealed in passengers’ clothing – doing so unobtrusively and in a respectful way that doesn’t display the subjects’ anatomy. The technology has the capability to scan around 2,000 people an hour and from a range of 10 metres, without disrupting foot traffic.
The TSA praised the efforts that the L.A. Metro had gone to protect its passengers with the type of security that is more often associated with airports than transit systems. “TSA is pleased to have been a partner during the evaluation and testing process, which ultimately led to the purchase of a recommended system to help detect and deter potential acts of terrorism while keeping the travelling public safe,” said the TSA administrator David Pekoske.
Sheila Kuehl, L.A. county supervisor, said that the detection technology would help the city fight what she called the “evolving threat to our nation’s public transportation infrastructure”. “This new technology will augment our aggressive safety and security posture and help us proactively deter potential attacks to our system.”
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