The Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District awarded GE Transportation, a unit of the General Electric Co., a $15.5 million contract for an advanced communications and information system (ACIS). The system will be used to integrate transportation and security data used by the bridge and collaborating law-enforcement agencies, said Mary Currie, the Golden Gate Bridge’s spokesperson.

“Security is our primary mission,” Currie said. “So we need to implement new communication technologies to fundamentally improve our communications at the bridge, especially as a potential terror target identified in 2002.”

The new ACIS is designed to improve communications for the three operating divisions: the Golden Gate Bridge, the Golden Gate Ferry and the Golden Gate Transit. It includes a public-safety radio communications component, automatic vehicle location, transit fleet mobile data capabilities, new computer-aided bus dispatch systems and new real-time announcement and information systems that can be accessed by transit customers. It also will deploy a Project 25 digital trunked radio system provided by EADS Secure Networks North America, to enhance communications interoperability between the district’s three operating divisions and coordinating agencies, as well as with external public-safety entities, said a GE spokesperson.

Currie said the system specifically will enhance communications with the U.S. Coast Guard, the California Highway Patrol, and the U.S. Park Police, as well as with Golden Gate National Recreation Area rangers. She added that the project may take more than two years to build.

“It could take longer,” Currie said. “Because this is a big project, one of the biggest we’ve ever undertaken.”