The MTA unveiled it's $212 million security deal with Lockheed Martin yesterday, showing off what the NY Times calls an "ambitious plan" to "saturate the subways with 1,000 video cameras and 3,000 motion sensors and to enable cellphone service in 277 underground stations - but not in moving cars - for the first time." Stations with more traffic will get first priority for the important bells and whistles, so think the bigger transit hubs with 2 or more subway lines running through them. Newsday adds that in order to these security measures be as effective as possible, the MTA will also be looking for "detectors capable of spotting biological, chemical or nuclear materials". The NY Times has a description of the cameras:

At the center of the effort will be a dense network of cameras that can zoom, pivot and rotate, all while transmitting and recording images of sensitive areas, from dark tunnels under the East River to bustling subway platforms in Midtown. Each camera will capture distances up to 300 feet and will cost about $1,200. A selected location could have 2 to 30 cameras.

In the news footage we saw, the technology seems pretty cool, because MTA security would be able to detect unattended packages as well as tracking someone using an expired access card, but the cynic in Gothamist wondered if the footage was doctored together for presentation purposes. It's all very Minority Report-ish, sans arresting people before they commit murders, but if that can happen one day, it will.

The MTA will be installing the cameras in the upcoming weeks and months, but emphasizes that the devices are more a deterrant than the end-all-be-all solution. The Mayor commended the MTA's decision, but urged them to move ahead quickly. The Daily News has an editorial saying the MTA should fast track all security measures.

Photograph by Newsday