CTA rail system now 100 percent equipped with HD cameras

April 5, 2019
CTA expands its subway station camera coverage by more than 50 percent following the upgrade of 660 cameras and the installation of an additional 340 cameras.

All Chicago Transit Authority rail system is now fully equipped with high-definition surveillance cameras following installation of 1,000 cameras throughout the Red and Blue line subway stations. CTA and the city of Chicago called the HD cameras a valuable tool to help deter and solve crimes. 

“Upgrading CTA’s surveillance network with state-of-the-art, high definition cameras will help ensure the safety and security of all passengers who rely on our bus and rail system to get to work, school and to destinations across our great city," said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  

Work to switch old analog surveillance cameras with new HD cameras began in May 2018 at all nine Red Line subway station and all 12 Blue Line stations, as well as installing additional cameras to improve surveillance coverage. In total, 660 existing cameras were upgraded and 340 cameras were added, expanding the previous subway station camera coverage by more than 50 percent. 

“Ensuring the safety of our customers and employees is our number one concern,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter. “The Safe & Secure program allows us to continue investing in the safety of our system and further our efforts towards providing a safer transit environment for our riders and employees.”

CTA says its camera network is among the most comprehensive of transit agency surveillance networks. It has more than doubled in size since 2011 and now encompasses 32,000 cameras systemwide.

CTA explains the cameras have been an invaluable tool for police as they investigate crimes committed on or near CTA properties, as well as identifying crime patterns and conducting remote surveillance missions. On average, images pulled from CTA’s cameras have aided police in arresting roughly 200 persons each year.

"CTA's high-definition surveillance cameras strengthen the CPD’s ability to keep buses, trains and the entire city safe,” said Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. “The Safe and Secure Program is just one more way CPD and CTA are partnering to ensure that our transportation system is safer than ever.”

CTA says that cameras are just one component in a multi-pronged effort towards combating crime that also involves CTA employees, private security agencies and, most importantly, the Chicago Police Department, as well as suburban law enforcement agencies that provide security for the CTA.

As part of the multi-year Safe & Secure program, a total of 1,000 new cameras will be added and more than 3,800 older-model cameras will be upgraded throughout the rail system. Additionally, new lighting, repairs and other improvements will enhance safety at all 145 CTA rail stations. New HD cameras will also be installed at more than 100 CTA bus turnaround locations and video monitors will be added to all CTA rail stations to aid personnel in monitoring station and customer activity.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.