JERSEY CITY, N.J. – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, with the cooperation of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), will test and evaluate security equipment and operating procedures at the Exchange Place Port Authority-Trans Hudson (PATH) Station from July 13-27.
The testing is part of the Department’s broader efforts to protect citizens and critical infrastructure from possible terrorist attacks. The test represents the second phase of a rail security pilot project.
In phase one, which was conducted from Feb. 6 through March 1, bags and passengers at Exchange Place Station were screened deliberately and randomly using off-the-shelf equipment such as X-ray machines and metal detectors specifically modified for the rail transportation environment.
During the second phase, the effectiveness of imaging technologies will be evaluated for detecting explosives from a distance in a rail transportation setting, officials said.
Exchange Place Station is the sixth busiest among the 13 PATH stations, transporting approximately 15,000 passengers on a typical workday. Peak rush hour brings more than 4,000 passengers per hour, compared to about 400 during slower times – all funneled through two entrances.
Varied approaches will help DHS evaluate equipment performance and screeners’ actions to ensure they are appropriate for actual station operations. The testing will also provide data such as percentage of false alarms, rate of screening, delays of passengers and manpower requirements – all of which DHS will use to determine life-cycle costs and conduct ongoing risk analyses, according to DHS.
Equally important, the data will indicate which technologies and operational procedures should be further developed or refined in order to make the mass commuter rail and subway systems more secure, officials contend.