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David Pendered

MARTA plans to spend up to $10.4 million to expand security cameras

By David Pendered

MARTA intends to add more security cameras to monitor passengers in stations, as well as its own employees when they’re at various work locations.

MARTA has budgeted from $8.3 million to $10.4 million for the project, according to the advance notice to bidders. The transit system already has beefed up its video surveillance network on vans, trains and buses.

MARTA surveillance video

MARTA released this surveillance video of patrons who don’t pay fares. The video was shot with a CCTV monitoring system. Credit: MARTA via 11alive.com

Closed circuit TV cameras have become quite popular tools to combat crime. A growing number of public agencies have adopted them. For example, the Atlanta City Council recently voted to spend up to $2.25 million to buy and install 112 cameras, bringing the total number of Atlanta Police Department cameras to more than 760 cameras.

MARTA’s plan is to expand the coverage of its existing CCTV system.

MARTA now has cameras covering transit stations and the video feeds are monitored in an effort to enhance passenger safety. This network is to be enlarged.

The expanded system also is to cover ancillary transit facilities including:

  • Rail repair yards
  • Bus garages
  • Police facilities
  • Administration buildings.

The cost is to be shared by MARTA and the federal government. The local sum is to be 56 percent of the cost and the remaining 44 percent will be covered by the federal government, according to the bid notice.

MARTA’s budget for the CCTV expansion is about four times greater than the $2.25 million the Atlanta City Council voted in October to spend on boosting its bank of security cameras.

Atlanta plans to place 92 of its 112 new cameras in Zone 5 – the police zone that stretches from I-85, north of Ansley Park, south across Georgia Tech’s campus and the Atlanta Botanical Garden, through Midtown and downtown, and ending at I-20.

Crime stats from the Atlanta Police Department show that crime is trending downward in Zone 5. Of eight categories of major crimes, only robberies were reported at a rate higher than last year, according to information through Dec. 8.

The city’s legislation said Zone 5 was chosen based on a 2010 report from Homeland Security, which conducted a critical infrastructure assessment of the city.

The remaining 20 cameras are to be installed throughout the rest of the city.

The city’s work is to be complete by May 31, 2013.

MARTA’s work is to be complete within 900 days after the contract is signed. That is expected to occur early in 2013.


David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.


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