TSA & Metro test security technology

One of the contractors shows how the technology works. Photos by Dave Sotero/Metro.

The equipment was tested at 7th/Metro Station today and will continue on Wednesday. The system measures waves that are naturally emitted by the body to screen for metallic and non-metallic threats, including firearms and explosives. A similar test was conducted last week at New York’s busy Penn Station.

This is the third test conducted by Metro in the last few months (here are posts on the first and second tests), as Metro works aggressively to test new technologies that could help address emerging security threats.

Here is the news release from the TSA and Metro:

TSA joins L.A. Metro to test high-tech passenger screening system
designed to detect explosives and other weapons

LOS ANGELES – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in partnership with the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (L.A. Metro) today tested a new passenger screening technology that is designed to detect suicide vests and other metallic and non-metallic weapons concealed in a person’s clothing in a busy transportation environment.

The technology is designed to identify concealed objects by analyzing waves that are naturally emitted by the human body. When an object is hidden in a person’s clothing or strapped to the body, these waves are blocked.

The technology generates a generic avatar of the person that looks like a “green ghost,” with a black spot in the area of the body where the item is concealed. No radiation of any kind is emitted by the unit and no anatomical details are displayed.

“TSA is pleased to partner with L.A. Metro to evaluate the capabilities of this security technology,” said Keith Jeffries, TSA Federal Security Director in Los Angeles. “We will continue to pursue innovative solutions to keep the traveling public safe from explosives and other threats, regardless of the mode of transportation.”

“Metro is continually seeking out the latest advanced technologies to augment its robust security posture on L.A. County’s transit system,” said Alex Wiggins, Chief Systems Security and Law Enforcement Officer for Metro. “Our partnership with TSA gives us the opportunity to test out multiple passenger screening systems specifically for transit applications to help keep our customers safe.”

Ultimately, this type of technology will help safeguard transit agencies and other transportation venues from terrorist threats. For this demonstration, the system is operated by employees of the agency, not by TSA. However, TSA supplies the equipment for the purposes of testing.

The system was tested at L.A. Metro’s 7th Street / Metro Center Station. During the testing phase, the transit rider’s participation is voluntary.

The equipment is mobile, which gives agencies the flexibility to operate in a variety of locations as needed. It is operated via a laptop computer and has been tested in a variety of locations on the east and west coasts. 



8 replies

  1. Does the TSA have authority to operate in Metro stations on their own? Or do the require Metro to invite them in? Does taking federal funds for subway construction require the county to allow federal agencies to operate there at will?

  2. And, does this also mean you guys are going to remove the transfer validator from 7th Street/ Metro Center and force every single patron to exit this station first, then re-enter this station after passing the inspection in the future?

    • Hi Lucia;

      It was just a test and I don’t see what you predict happening. Metro, other agencies and the TSA are looking at equipment that won’t interrupt commutes but help find security problems in a crowd.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  3. Does this also include the house key and/or the belt and/or the cellphone (Traditional or Smart) and/or the coins?

  4. So will they be harassing law-abiding pocket knife owners officially or unofficially?

  5. More security Kabuki. The more you tell about the tech that is being used, the more the baddies can adapt around it.