Metro has installed ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system at all bus and rail divisions

Metro has partnered with Early Warning Labs of Santa Monica to install a new earthquake early warning system at all of our bus and rail divisions  — just in time for this year’s Great ShakeOut earthquake readiness event on Thursday, October 21.

The earthquake early warning system, called ShakeAlert, is operated by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and detects earthquakes of magnitude 4.8 or greater. The system alerts agencies to help protect people, critical systems, equipment and infrastructure within seconds of the initial energy radiating from the epicenter, providing critical moments to prepare. By deploying ShakeAlert at 26 Metro facilities, employees could get an early alert before the shaking arrives, potentially helping them keep fellow employees and transit facilities safe.

Metro’s deployment of ShakeAlert is believed to be the nation’s largest installation of the early warning system at a transit agency. During Thursday’s Great ShakeOut, Metro will deliver test alerts to all locations with the warning, “Earthquake, earthquake, earthquake, shaking expected,” prompting operations staff to perform earthquake response procedures to secure people and property as if it was a real earthquake.

Metro is an early adopter of the ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system. The agency partnered with the USGS as a beta tester in 2007. In 2016, Metro’s Emergency Management Department began a pilot project to install the system at its Rail Operations Center with private partner Early Warning Labs. That pilot went live in 2018. This week, the system expands to 25 additional locations. Next, Metro is working to install ShakeAlert in every bus and train on the Metro system, further enhancing the ability to protect riders in the event of an earthquake.