LA Metro Installs Anti-Graffiti Film

Providing Peace of Mind for Patrons of the Los Angeles Metro

Original concern
Los Angeles Metro’s stations are clad in a stainless steel finish that is very susceptible to marring and aggressive vandalism. Approximately 30.000 square meters of stainless steel finished surfaces required repair due to aggressive graffiti, with repair costs estimated between 15 to 20 million USD for union labour. This estimate represents only the labour to refinish the stainless steel surfaces.

In order to further protect the refinished surface from future vandalism, an additional investment of 2 million USD was needed to install clear anti-graffiti film.

However, this traditional type of repair had some important drawbacks:

  1. Loss of Revenue: The initial refinishing phase would have required the closing of entire stations due to the health and safety risk of airborne dust and metal debris created during the refinishing phase.
  2. Aesthetics: The clear anti-graffiti film cannot hide the inevitably scratched surface from showing through the clear film.
  3. Labor intensive removal: The clear sacrificial layer may be difficult to remove from a stainless steel surface (unlike from a glass surface, for which it is really best suited), if and when replacement is required (e.g. after a new vandalism incident). To properly account for the risk of further vandalism, an additional 2.5 million USD annual maintenance budget would need to be established to remove and replace clear film.

The Metal-Shield solution
Our US partner Graffiti Shield, Inc. offered Metal Shield, a 150-micron thick graffiti abatement and obscuring film. Metal Shield was installed over the damaged stainless steel surfaces, replicating their original and clean appearance. Metal Shield not only covers up any existing vandalism, but it also protects the substrate from future damage.

The product utilises a proprietary adhesive system engineered to withstand removal attempts by the general public but is easily removed by a trained technician (without leaving any adhesive transfer on the metal surface).

Project outcome
LA Metro’s internal research indicated that the option to use Metal Shield to overlay cladding provided significant cost savings over the traditional method of metal refinishing and clear anti-graffiti film installation. As a result, LA Metro awarded a 20 million USD contract to Graffiti Shield, Inc to service 100+ stations on a monthly service cycle.

Since the stations are constantly inspected and maintained, the entertainment and advertising industry have increased utilization of Los Angeles Metro for movie shoots and television commercials. The overall improvement in the stations’ appearance has led to an enhanced feeling of safety and a greater sense of pride for the patrons as a whole. And last but not least, most people don’t even know that Metal Shield is there!

The overall improvement in the stations’ appearance has led to an enhanced feeling of safety and a greater sense of pride for the patrons as a whole. LA Metro is the transit system based in Los Angeles, CA, USA with over 125 stations covering Los Angeles County. The system contains 2 underground and 4 above ground lines covering over 169 kilometers of rail. Daily ridership
is over 360.000 people.