L.A. Metro, TSA partner on security

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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Thruvision’s TAC-TS4 identifies objects that block the naturally occurring waves produced by a person’s body.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have joined forces to deploy “a new advanced portable passenger screening technology that will help detect weapon and explosive device security threats on the county’s transit system.”

“Metro is the first surface transportation agency in the U.S. to purchase such an advanced, high-tech security device to help keep transit riders safe from person-borne improvised explosive devices or other weapons that are intended to cause mass casualties,” the agency said.

Following a series of tests during the past year of TSA-vetted and approved security technologies at its stations, Metro has now purchased several Thruvision TAC-TS4 portable terahertz millimeter wave passenger screening devices. The units can be placed at locations throughout the Metro system and are equipped with software that “quickly and unobtrusively” screens individuals for concealed threats. The units can identify both metallic and non-metallic objects.

Thruvision’s technology was tested extensively by TSA. Metro tested it at its 7th Street/Metro Center Station.

Metro describes the TAC-TS4 as follows:

“The devices identify 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. The software generates generic avatars and creates either a black spot on the area of the body where the item is concealed or overlays a color indicator. The technology does not emit radiation of any kind and no anatomical details are displayed. The device allows law enforcement agents and Metro Security to screen rail and bus patrons without disrupting foot traffic and to take decisive, pre-emptive action if suspicious items are found.”

“TSA applauds the leadership of L.A. Metro for its proactive efforts to evaluate, procure and use state-of-the-art technology designed to detect potential threats to the transit system,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske, who joined Metro officials to view the systems’ capabilities at Los Angeles Union Station. “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 traveling public safe.”

“Metro has been an industry leader in testing new technologies to meet evolving threats to our public transportation infrastructure,” said Sheila Kuehl, L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair. “This new technology will augment our already aggressive safety and security measures and help us proactively deter potential attacks to our system.”

For additional information about Metro’s Safety and Security Program, visit www.metro.net/safety. 

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