On Tuesday, the Los Angeles transit agency has said it will become the first city in America to use body scanners to screen the passengers entering subway stations, in an effort to diminish terrorist threats.
The body scanners are also being tested in New York and New Jersey and it’s not a new idea – the federal government has been researching the technology for around 15 years already.
The scanners will screen the passengers without having them line up, this way no one has to worry about their commute.
The machines are manufactured by Thruvision and they will look like large laminate cases, will be on wheels and have the ability to detect suspicious items from up to 30 feet away. They are also able to scan 2,000 passengers per hour.
Alex Wiggins, the chief security and law enforcement officer for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, has said on Tuesday they are searching for “weapons that have the ability to cause a mass casualty event. We’re looking for explosive vests, we’re looking for assault rifles. We’re not necessarily looking for smaller weapons that don’t have the ability to inflict mass casualties.”
There is no radiation emitted from the machines and the scanners will not display anatomical details either.
For now, there is no word on how many body scanners will be purchased or where they will be deployed to, but they will start to eventually roll out after police officers and employees have been trained on how to use them.
To crunch some numbers, the city’s metro system counts 93 rail stations and there are around 150,000 passengers that ride on L.A’s Red Line daily; the subway system has counted over 112 million rides last year alone.