D.C. subway to beef up biological, chemical security

Smiths Detection will provide Washington D.C.'s Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority with an upgrade of its PROTECT threat detection capabilities following a recently announced contract.

THE WMATA is one of three public transportation systems utilizing the advanced PROTECT, or Program for Response Options and Technology Enhancement for Chemical and Biological Terrorism, system. PROTECT was developed by the Argonne National Laboratory following the Tokyo subway Sarin gas attacks. Washington has used the system for five years and it is also utilized in New York and Boston.

“Mass transit continues to be one of the most challenging environments for security systems, partly due to high passenger throughput, confined spaces and harsh environmental conditions," Brook Miller, vice president of government affairs for Smith Detection, said. "The PROTECT solution is a proven transit security strategy, which adds a flexible layer of sophisticated detection that can grow and expand as needs arise.”

Smiths Detection will expand the WMATA's biological, chemical, radiological, nuclear and explosive materials sensor detection capabilities.

The upgrade, for which Smiths Detection will provide engineering and installation support, is described by the Argonne National Laboratory as a chemical agent detection and response system.

“We are pleased with the success of the PROTECT system and WMATA’s continued efforts to expand and apply new technologies to enhance public safety," Cherif Rizkalla, president of security and inspection at Smiths Detection, said. "PROTECT is the premier integrated sensor solution for mass transit and is a vital tool for subway operators, first responders and law enforcement.”