AIRPORT SCREENINGA Self-Service Screening Option Coming to the Airport Near You

Published 4 December 2023

Self-service screening is coming to airport checkpoints, thanks to the Science and Technology Directorate’s Screening at Speed Program. A pilot of a new self-service screening system is scheduled to begin in January at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada.

As the number of air travelers continue to rise and exceed pre-pandemic levels, the Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is creating sustainable changes to systems and processes to increase screening efficiency and improve the passenger experience while keeping a stable number of Transportation Security Officers (TSOs). One solution S&T is pursuing through its Screening at Speed Program is passenger self-service screening, which allows PreCheck passengers to complete the screening process with minimal to no assistance from TSOs.

“Like self-ordering kiosks at fast food and sit-down restaurants, self-service screening allows passengers in the Trusted Traveler Program to complete the security screening process on their own,” said Screening at Speed Program Manager Dr. John Fortune. “Travelers will use passenger and carry-on screening systems at individual consoles or screening lanes themselves, reducing the number of pat downs and bag inspections TSOs need to perform and freeing their time to be reallocated to the busier aspects of screening operations. The feedback we’ve already received during testing from both mock passengers and TSOs has been incredibly positive.”

S&T and TSA Are Actively Investing in the Future of Air Travel
S&T’s Screening at Speed team and its Transportation Security Laboratory (TSL) have partnered with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Innovation Task Force (ITF) to develop and test solutions to build the foundation for the next generation of airport screening.

The joint effort is focused on transformative research and development to increase security effectiveness and reduce checkpoint wait times, benefiting both passengers and TSOs,” Dr. Fortune said. “The passenger self-service screening technology aims to keep travelers and TSOs safer by minimizing person to person contact, reducing the number of bags TSOs have to pick up and move around and allowing passengers to proceed at their own pace.

In 2021, Screening at Speed created a Broad Agency Announcement with TSA for an airport self-service screening concept design and prototype, initially intended for PreCheck passengers. S&T challenged industry to propose innovative concepts for what a self-service screening solution might look like.

In late 2021, S&T awarded four contracts to three companies: Micro-X of Federal Way, WashingtonVanderlande Industries Inc. of Marietta, Georgia; and Voxel Radar of San Francisco. The companies are working with Screening at Speed and TSA to develop self-screening concepts, prototypes, and hardware that enable new screening paradigms while meeting TSA’s rigorous security standards.