New York City Subway Communication System: [Essay Example], 626 words GradesFixer
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New York City Subway Communication System

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The New York subway, one of the bustling subways in the world always came to a serious impediment when it came to communicating information between the underground and above ground police personnel. The officers in the transit police stationed above ground were unable to communicate with those who were working in the subway, regularly. Furthermore, the transit police were unable to communicate with other departments, organizations and sometimes between themselves during emergencies. Incompatibility between the communication systems were the main reason behind this recurring issue which left the underground transit police stranded in terms of exchange of information from the outside world.

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An initial plan devised by the NYPD in 1990’s which came in to action as two firms were jointly assigned a task as to develop a new communication system for the law authority that was operational at both above and below ground, almost a decade later. The project was estimated to be completed by 2004 with a budget of 115 million dollars. A part of the problem could have been fixed by sharing the same frequencies, since the aboveground and belowground personnel used frequency range for communication. A lion-share of the issue still lied in transmitting signals from below ground which required antennas, most of which were defective or inoperable. The radio signals travelling below ground level had to pass through a series of mazes and grates, as a result most of the signal would deteriorate over distance. The contractors thought amplifying the signals would allow them to pass through these obstacles with ease but these actions raised several questions from experts in the very beginning. After 7 years, 140 million dollars and several trail runs later the law authorities were left with a system which was brimful of interference.

The NYPD made it clear that they would not wield a system drenched in interference in their field of operation. The implementation of the new system was put on hold due to these issues and elimination of these issues forecasted an inflated budget of 210 million dollars. There are certain reasons that contributed towards failure of the project. The contractors did not take in to account the expert’s opinion on the interference problem. The rationale behind this substantial failure was how the project managers moved forward even after experts evinced the flaws of the project. Rather than addressing the problem at hand and devising a new plan, they rallied through the project with the little knowledge. The engineers at the Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA), were skeptical about the use of analog technology while the much more reliable digital technology was at hand. The brute force of the amplifiers couldn’t cut through all the hindrance inside the subway. That’s one of the reasons why interference still prevailed within the system.

Furthermore, after the 9/11 incident authorities were concerned and they couldn’t avoid such a massive flaw in the department. The political pressure was rushing the project mangers and contractors towards completion of the project. However, as things got worse and the project started to linger on, the police officers started relaying on mobile phones as their mode of communication. As Mark Bienstock, New York city transit program manager said “What in place today is functional”. After all these years the system is yet to reach perfection or foolproof for that matter.

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The New York subway communication systems project turned in to fiasco over the years. The project mangers certainly underestimated the complexity of the project and discarded the expert opinions. Incompetency in planning and scheduling dragged the project a long way down the time line. If the authorities could subsume the modern technology rather than clinging on to the century old ones the project would have stayed in budget and up and running by now.

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New York City Subway Communication System. (2020, July 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 19, 2021, from
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