How public transit customers can see something, say something

November 19, 2015

ELERTS crowd-sourced rider tips to keep transit systems safe

(Weymouth, MA) November 19, 2015 — The attacks on Paris have registered sadly a lasting reminder that when you go out in public, seemingly calm environments can turn to chaos quickly. For those who use public transportation, it is important to be aware of the surroundings and suspicious behavior. Perhaps more importantly, you must know how to report it.

Many mass transit systems have increased patrols and use of K-9 sweeps to tighten security. But even with tightened security, transit police need the eyes and ears of riders as a force multiplier. Part of that is educating riders on what to look for and mentally note.

“Since 9/11, public transportation systems have been a soft target for terrorists and transportation authorities have installed systems and technology and encouraged riders to report suspicious behavior,” said Ed English, CEO of ELERTS, the leading provider of See Something, Say Something mobile apps for mass transit systems. “Those systems work even better when transit riders know what to look for and report it. Human analytics are very powerful.”

Some things English notes as potentially suspicious are: An unattended package or bag on a seat or a platform; unauthorized people in a seemingly restricted area; suspicious behavior or disorderly conduct; unexplainable odors, substances, or smoke.

Just as important as noticing this sort of activity are mentally noting things about the people and the suspicious behavior they are exhibiting (e.g. note the who, what, when where and why of the suspicious activity). It’s also important to note other details, specifically of the people involved (e.g. age, sex, gender, height, weight, hair color, clothing, etc.).

“What’s really key is that people report suspicious activity quickly. Rapid alerting can give first responders precious time to respond to an emergency or developing situation. If you are out and about, call 911. If you are on a train or bus, utilize the systems they have in place like text-a-tip lines, for example,” said English. “Apps like ours and others make it easy for concerned citizens to report suspicious behavior and to provide important information, without putting themselves in harm’s way.”

Presently, the ELERTS Transit mobile app is used by major transit systems, including MARTA in Atlanta, the MBTA in Boston, the NFTA in Buffalo, the VTA in Santa Clara and BART in San Francisco. Daily, more than 2.5 million riders may use ELERTS Transit app to report security and safety concerns to transit police and security dispatchers. ELERTS also has similar apps for K-12 schools, colleges and universities, hospitals, corporations and more.

ELERTS transit app connects riders to the proper authorities in a seamless way. There is no phone number to remember, app users just press a few buttons to submit a report its quick and discrete. The web-based console also enables authorities to broadcast alerts to ELERTS app users. For example, the transit app has been used to issue advisories on service disruptions; safety advice or BOLO (Be On the Look Out) messages may be sent to riders. Transits have used ELERTS system to ask riders to find lost children, missing dementia patients and criminal suspects, by broadcasting messages to the rider’s app.

ELERTS transit app work with iPhone and Android smartphones. Users are able to utilize the app to submit reports containing photos, video, text descriptions and GPS maps, pinpointing the problem area. ELERTS also offers a Text-A-Tip service for transit riders who do not have a smartphone.

For more information on ELERTS Transit, please call 877-256-1971 or visit


ELERTS Corporation, headquartered in Weymouth, MA, develops best-in-class emergency communication software empowered by community-sourced reporting of safety and security concerns. The company’s cloud-based approach leverages smartphone technologies to provide robust, two-way communication between multiple parties. ELERTS mobile technology integrates with video surveillance, access control and mass-notification systems. The result is actionable information for emergency situations – to help First Responders become faster responders.


Crowdsourced Situational Awareness

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