For the first time, a major metropolitan transportation system in America is getting a level of security comparable to an airport. The Los Angeles subway system will be which will screen passengers for weapons and explosives.
The security will look different than it does at an airport: Passengers will walk through halls like they have before, only this time they will be walking through Thruvision TAC-TS4 portable terahertz millimeter wave passenger screening devices. On the British company's website, its mass transit security can screen up to 2,000 people per hour without their having to stop or slow down. And contrary to popular belief, the Los Angeles subway does have riders. There are around 150,000 per year, according to the city.
The screening devices, which use no radiation and displays, will create a generic avatar and detect waves that a person's body generates naturally. The devices will note when these waves are blocked and show two security officers either a blank spot or a color indicator.
The Los Angeles Metro has tested the system over the last year at its its 7th Street/Metro Center Station. The body scanners have also been tested at Penn Station in New York, Union Station in Washington, D.C., and a New Jersey Transit station during the 2014 Super Bowl.
“We’re looking specifically for weapons that have the ability to cause a mass-casualty event,” says Alex Wiggins, head of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s law enforcement division, in a . “We’re looking for explosive vests, we’re looking for assault rifles. We’re not necessarily looking for smaller weapons that don’t have the ability to inflict mass casualties.”
Last year, the nation's subway systems got a rude awakening when a man attempted to set off an in a walkway connecting New York's Times Square and Port Authority subway stations. One person was injured in the explosion.