MTA Considers Installing Alarm System to Warn When Someone Falls Onto Tracks

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Transit workers may soon be alerted when someone has fallen off of the platform and onto the tracks, as the MTA looks into installing a "track intrusion" system.

Tom Prendergast, MTA interim executive director, said the system features laser beams and could alert workers via an alarm system or flashing lights when someone is in the way. 

"You could tie it in to an alarm system, flashing lights, things of that nature, to warn people someone is on the roadbed, or out of the safe location of the platform," Prendergast said. "It's primarily used for security reasons but we'd look to use it here for safety."

This type of system is already being tested on the PATH system, but details of its efficacy have not been reported. 

Every year, around 135 people are struck by trains. Last year, 141 were hit. 

The MTA said it would install platform doors at one station along the L train, but the cost of installing these doors across the entire train system would be around $1 billion. 

After the most recent accidents, motormen have asked for permission to drive trains slowly as they come into stations, but Prendergast said this could cause crowding and make the platforms even more dangerous. 

Of the total people who fall on the tracks every year, about 38% fall because they have tripped. Around 23% have fallen as a suicide attempt. 

Drugs and alcohol also play a role, as 25% were intoxicated at the time of falling.


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