Mass Transit Magazine has featured multiple Talkaphone deployments, including emergency phones installed along the Chicago Transit Authority’s Orange Line transition point at Midway Airport and Blue Light Stations (BLS) with power trip buttons installed on light rail platforms at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in its October issue. “Take a Ride on the Safe Side” story by Joe Petrie can be found at www.masstransitmag.com.
CTA along with several other subway systems in the U.S. have chosen to deploy Talkaphone’s platform and tunnel emergency phones, which are easily seen and only require a push of a button to connect to security personnel. Not only do they allow security personnel to instantly pinpoint the location of a caller, but they also provide the quickest way to contact the appropriate security agency in case of an emergency.
A highly active subway system in the southeast has recently deployed Talkaphone emergency phones in every train car. These phones allow commuters to contact security without having to wait for a train to make its scheduled stop. Each unit is connected via a wireless interface to a 4G network, making them an ideal solution for a system that is computer driven and operated.
Talkaphone’s ECO TOWER®, a winner of the Security Products 2012 New Product of the Year Award, has been deployed in a major southwest urban rail system. The lightweight and durable ECO TOWER gives system integrators a reliable solution where emergency communication needs to be quickly deployed. Another west coast light rail system ordered customized Talkaphone blue light towers for both emergency and non-emergency use on platforms.
Sometimes it is not sufficient to simply notify the security personnel of an emergency. And while security cameras and phones can supply critical information to security personnel, they do not have a chance to act on an event. Immediate action taken by mass transit riders can save lives, if the platform is equipped with the right tools. A person falling on tracks is unfortunately not that rare an occurrence. Many local transit authorities have taken preventative measures.
The Phoenix (Arizona) Light Rail and the Sacramento (California) Transportation Authority installed Talkaphone’s Blue Light Stations (BLS) on their platforms equipped with emergency power trip buttons. The unit empowers everyday users of public transportation to cut power to the tracks by pushing the E-stop button.
Anyone can engage the emergency button and immediately cut the power to the tracks. Units include IP Call Stations, highly visible Blue Lights, emergency lettering and instructions, raising awareness of public transportation riders. In some locations the units are wall mounted, and in others mounted on their own integrated stainless steel post.
Securing the transition points from one transportation medium to another is also a must. Emergency phones are strategically placed in such locations to allow the general public to report any suspicious activity that might be taking place. This technology has been employed at various transit authorities in the United States, including the CTA’s Orange Line connection to Chicago’s Midway Airport.
Parking garages and outdoor parking lots adjacent to airports also require a diligent approach when it comes to security. Proper access points planning, emergency phones and surveillance all play an important role in enhancing security. CTA’s Park and Ride lots use a combination emergency phone towers and Pan-Tilt-Zoom surveillance cameras to quickly zero in on any emergency situation.
A multi-layered security plan plays a critical role in creating a safe and secure environment. We must learn to critically observe our surroundings, and then report anything out of the ordinary. We have the tools at our disposal; now it’s the matter of looking after each other.