More people died on MTA-operated tracks in 2013 than any year since 2008—the first year that records of such incidents were kept. As such, the agency is testing an assortment of new technologies aimed at keeping straphangers alive if, for whatever reason, they find themselves off the platform and twerking by the third rail.
The pilot will focus on motion sensor technologies designed to warn conductors of track interference and, ideally, enable them to stop the train in time. Options on the table span four different concepts, the Daily News reports:
- Closed-circuit television cameras and “intelligent video” computer software that recognizes when a large object moves from the platform to the tracks.
- Laser beams that stretch across the tracks that, when broken, triggers an alarm and other components.
- Radio frequencies transmitted across the tracks just beneath the platform edge.
- Thermal-image cameras, which identify the heat emitted from a person, focused on the station’s tracks.
Noble though these endeavors are, none of the above technology will do much to prevent deaths caused by last second falls onto the tracks, which is often the case with suicides and malicious shovings. For those, officials have said they'd investigate the possibility of movable, physical barriers on platform edges. Still, let us remember that no technology is as effective as
common sensea grim reaper wearing a reflective vest.