Boston transit agency to try urine sensors on elevators

to urinate

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No more urinary problems, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority hopes, with a new program to address public urination in system elevators with technology.

The MBTA, which serves Boston and the surrounding area, is launching a pilot program this summer that will see urine detection sensors placed in four downtown elevators. The sensors are alerting transit ambassadors, who can send a cleaning crew, the Boston Herald reported.

The sensors on the ceiling of an elevator have a fan attached, which allows them to draw in air and “basically smell what’s there,” said Meghan Collins, a program/project manager for MBTA.

The pilot will start in August. The data will be collected several months before the agency makes a decision on whether or not to implement the program by the end of the year, the paper said.

It’s not a new concept.

Nearly a decade ago, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority launched a pilot program that, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, activated strobe lights, alarms and alerts for MARTA police when urine was detected in an elevator. The elevators were then unusable until a cleaning. That program, which was considered a success, was eventually expanded.

The MBTA hopes the program will help alleviate the problems: Not only is urinating in public unsanitary, but it can also damage elevators, Collins said.


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