TriMet, the public transportation authority for the Portland, OR metropolitan area, was recently awarded a $560,000 grant from the Transportation Safety Administration for the purpose of improving its CCTV infrastructure on the MAX (Metropolitan Area Express) light rail system.
TriMet has received approximately $4 million from both the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security since 2003, in an effort to improve safety both at light rail stops and keep the infrastructure (tunnels, bridges and wiring) safe. TriMet currently has surveillance cameras on all buses and light rail cars, and cameras watch over major stations (also called "transit centers").
The federal grants awarded to TriMet and other similar programs nationwide are structured into two tiers, based on risk. Tier 1 are grants with funds directed towards programs in dense urban areas with heavy infrastructure (tunnels, bridges, etc), with the intention of establishing protection for riders, facilities and employees. Tier 2 grants are directed more towards TSA employee training and public awareness programs in areas where security is less critical. TriMet's newest grant is tier 2 funds, and will be used to enhance security at MAX stations in suburban stations.
TriMet has consistently been voted the best public transportation system in the US, and is used by many residents in the Portland metro area. The cameras and surveillance system improvements are hoped to add to TriMet's already comprehensive system of security cameras and help keep riders, employees and infrastructure safe.
Read the TriMet Press Release