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17 April 2008 A demonstrator for an integrated subway protection system
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In 2006 SEPA has carried on the installation and tests of a demonstrator for an integrated subway protection system at a new subway station in the Naples (Italy) metropolitan area. Protection of a subway system is a difficult task given the amount of passengers transported every day. The demonstrator has been limited to non-intrusive detection techniques not to impair the passenger flow into the station. The demonstrator integrates several technologies and products that have been developed by SEPA or are already available on the market (MKS Instruments,...). The main purpose is to provide detection capabilities for attempts to introduce radioactive substances in the subway station, in order to foil possible attempts to place a dirty bomb, and threat detection and identification following release of chemical agents. The system integrates additional sensors such as video surveillance cameras and air flow sensing to complement the basic sensors suite. The need to protect sensitive installations such as subway stations has been highlighted by the series of terroristics actions carried out in recent years in the subway in London. However, given the number of passengers of a metro system, it is impossible to propose security techniques operating in ways similar to the screening of passengers in airports. Passengers screening and threat detection and identification must be quick, non-intrusive and capable of screening a large number of passengers to be applicable to mass transit systems. In 2005 SEPA, a small company operating in the field of trains video-surveillance systems and radiation detectors, started developing an integrated system to provide a comprehensive protection to subway stations, based on ready available or off-the-shelf components in order to quickly develop a reliable system with available technology. We ruled out at the beginning any new development in order to speed up the fielding of the system in less than one year. The system was developed with commercial sensors and deployed in a new station of the Naples metropolitan transit system in Mugnano. The station was particularly suitable for the demonstration since it is a new station that includes air venting control, water barriers (for fire and smoke containment) and a complete SCADA system to integrate technical and video surveillance operations. In order to protect the subway, we tackled four basic technologies, all readily available in-house or on the market: - radiation detection, to detect the introduction in the station of radionuclides, that may be dispersed by conventional explosive (a "dirty" bomb); - chemical agents detection and identification (after release), complemented with air speed and velocity sensors to estimate, track and predict the contamination plume; - video surveillance, integrated with the SCADA system and already available in the station.
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E. Detoma, P. Capetti, G. Casati, and S. Billington "A demonstrator for an integrated subway protection system", Proc. SPIE 6943, Sensors, and Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Technologies for Homeland Security and Homeland Defense VII, 694316 (17 April 2008);

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