MTA to pilot platform doors, additional technologies to prevent track incursion

Feb. 24, 2022
MTA Chairman and CEO said putting the funding together for the pilot is “a little complicated” and could take a while.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber said the authority is developing a pilot program that will see the use of platform doors at three stations, in addition to the use of other technology to prevent people from accessing the tracks.

Lieber made the announcement toward the end of an interview with NY1’s morning show where he discussed safety on the MTA system.

The authority had a previous plan for a platform safety door pilot that was tabled in 2018. The subject of platform doors re-emerged following the death of Michelle Go at the Times Square station in January. Go was struck by a train and killed after a homeless man pushed her onto the tracks.

While the pilot program announcement followed a question including a reference to the January incident, Lieber explained track and tunnel incursions by people had seen a “significant increase,” which prompted him to establish an interagency group to examine the “really complicated issue.”

The platform doors provide an additional barrier between people waiting on the platform and an approaching train. While cost prohibitive to install on the entire subway network, the platform safety pilot program announced by Lieber will involve three stations “where the engineering does work” for their installation. The stations in the pilot include the 7 Line platform at Times Square station; the L line Third Ave Station and the E line platform at the Sutphin Boulevard station.

“We're also going to be piloting new technologies to detect track incursion using thermal technology, using laser technology, so we can know quicker when people get on the tracks and hopefully, interdict that kind of behavior,” Lieber added.

The pilot program could be down the road with Lieber saying it would “take a while” and putting funding together for the program is “a little complicated.”

“But our goal is to try out these technologies, at different places in the system, including three stations, trying out platform doors,” said Lieber.

The safety of New York City’s subways has been in the spotlight with Mayor Eric Adams announcing his plan Subway Safety Plan to provide aid to people experiencing homelessness and those individuals with serious mental illness within the subway system late last week. 

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group 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.