Calgary takes aim at improving transit safety

Dec. 7, 2022
The city is coordinating its efforts to increase transit patrols, piloting an ambassador program and making lighting upgrades.

The city of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, is developing strategies to be coordinated with several city departments that will deliver a safer transit system and improved rider experience.

The city highlighted its efforts to address what it calls a complex issue. Calgary is recruiting and training additional peace officers, piloting an ambassador program, increasing staff levels at Calgary Transit’s Operations Control Center and investing in elements such as lighting.

Key to the success of the efforts will be coordination, and the city says “solutions need to involve a highly orchestrated effort in order to see results over time.”

The city recently saw six new peace officers graduate and will continue to recruit and train additional peace officers in 2023. In July, the city approved an additional 32 transit peace officers, which will bring the total available for deployment on Calgary Transit’s system to 141. The city says this is a 25 percent increase in patrols and officer presence on the system. The city is also recruiting security guards for the transit system and aims to have 31 when the process is complete.

Calgary is joining the growing list of cities to add a transit ambassador program. The Calgary Transit Ambassador pilot program will deploy a team of employees to help with questions and wayfinding throughout the system. The city says the program will result in a greater presence along the light-rail network and identify safety issues on the transit system before they become significant incidents.

The transit ambassadors will also alert the Operations Control Center when they witness or come across issues or incidents. The Operations Control Center will also see staffing levels increase, which will allow the city to have a strengthened ability to monitor its network of 1,200 CCTV cameras and deploy response teams as required.

A project is scheduled to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2023 that will see upgrades made to lighting at all 7th Avenue platforms from West Kerby to City Hall. The upgrade will result in increased lighting levels and greater visibility within and across platforms. This will also improve the ability of the system’s cameras to capture platform activities.

The city recognizes the need for coordination to deliver positive results through its safety efforts and is involving multiple agencies, including Calgary Police Service, Transit Safety, Community Services, Corporate Security, 911 and Calgary’s many community social service partners to work together.

“We have heard from Calgarians and want you to know we are working hard to make Transit in Calgary safer,” said Calgary’s City Manager David Duckworth. “This is a highly-coordinated, multi-agency effort involving the Calgary Police Service, Transit Safety, Community Services, 911 and Calgary’s many community social service partners, stepping-up their collaborative efforts to increase safety for Calgarians.”

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