Atlanta is home to ground-breaking technology that’s sure to improve the lives of its mass transit riding citizens. As reported by WSB-TV Channel 2 Action News, the city has installed a “urine detection device,” or UDD in an elevator at an unidentified Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) station in Midtown.
It was a particularly problematic elevator with daily complaints that it reeked of urine. The less than pleasant odor issue is one shared by many elevators in the MARTA system. As WSB poetically stated, “To get to the train, you often have to ride in a urinal first.” Alicia Porter told the station, “The smell hits you so bad. You hold your breath just to hurry up and get out the elevator." Another MARTA rider said, “It’s body waste and you don’t want to smell somebody else’s you know, urine. It’s just not a good thing.”
Tom Beebe, MARTA’s Director of Elevators/Escalators, agrees with those riders, likening the experience in the stations’ elevators to riding in a porta potty. Beebe is confident in the UDD and explained how it works, "If somebody was to urinate in here, there's going to be a splash factor.”
There are sensors on each side of the car and Beebe says, “It would splash and it would sense." The sensors sound an alarm and the MARTA police will rush to catch the suspect.
A very visible sign warns potential violators that the elevator is armed with the UDD. It reads, “Public Urination is considered public indecency under Georgia Law” and “The law is strictly enforced and violators will be subject to citation and arrest. DON’T DO IT”
The pilot program using the UDD has been in place for a month and what was a daily problem for that elevator, has decreased to just one incident in which the offender was caught and arrested. Other improvements made were increased lighting and cameras in the elevator, as well as the reopening of restrooms at four stations.
Next month the city will start installing the sensors in other elevators, with hopes to outfit all 111 elevators in the MARTA system. At a cost of $10,000 to install it in each elevator, the UDD is not cheap. Perhaps the cost is worth it though. About the elevator in the pilot program, MARTA commuters commented, “It smells really good in there,” and, “When I got on I didn’t smell the urine so that’s, that was definitely a pleasant thing.”
More info: WSB-TV