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Thought Leader Transit


The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) Police Department (MPD) held the region’s largest emergency preparedness exercise overnight on Oct. 27 at Dome Station (which services Mercedes-Benz Stadium and State Farm Arena).

The full-scale exercise simulated a crisis scenario complete with explosions, smoke, and actors to help create a realistic setting for first responders.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and Atlanta Police Department (APD) took part, as did other federal, state, and local law enforcement partners. 

“Our planning process for the Super Bowl started several years ago,” said MARTA Police Chief Wanda Y. Dunham. “We have held numerous table-top exercises, but this full-scale exercise will showcase our capabilities and assist us in identifying any gaps.” 

In order for the exercise to be as realistic as possible, theatrical explosions, smoke, and simulated injuries were used. MARTA and exercise coordinators notified patrons of station and street closures due to the event and alerted nearby business owners and residents to not be alarmed by what will look and sound like an emergency situation.

Full-scale exercise held at Dome Station. Credit: MARTA

 “MARTA is one of the safest transit systems in the country because of training exercises such as this one,” said MARTA General Manger & CEO Jeffrey Parker. “We appreciate the patience of our customers as we conduct this valuable exercise in preparation for the world’s largest sporting event.”

The exercise is an opportunity for MPD to show the NFL and the Super Bowl Host Committee that the Authority is prepared for a worst case scenario during the ten days of events leading up to and including the big game.

MARTA released its Super Bowl service plan last week that includes continuous, 24-hour rail service, from 4 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 1 until 2 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 5 to accommodate not only regular riders but event staff and visitors in town who may be enjoying the extended alcohol sales hours in the City of Atlanta.


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