TSA posts RFI for Registered Traveler, TWIC

Published 19 December 2005

Transportation agency posts RFPs for two major transportation security projects

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is looking for help in implementing two of its major biometric ID card programs — Registered Traveler, aimed at prescreened airport passengers, and Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC), aiming at screening transportation workers. TSA posted a request for information (RFI) on 15 December, saying it was seeking ideas on a business model for Registered Traveler, a voluntary program in which prescreened airline passengers would be allowed to bypass some of the security procedures at U.S. airports. Travelers register in advance to undergo the screenings, enroll their biometric data in the system, and receive a biometric ID to verify their identity. On 30 September TSA ended its Registered Traveler pilot program at airports in Boston, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Washington. A privately operated version of the program operates at Orlando International Airport and is being sponsored by Verified Identity Pass of New York, Lockheed Martin, and the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority. Registered Traveler will roll out nationwide in 2006.

A key issue for the implementation is ensuring interoperability among airports using Registered Traveler. The pilot programs currently in place are airport-specific and not interoperable with each other; the biometric ID card travelers prescreened in, say, Orlando, would not work with the equipment installed in Minneapolis. Travelers can thus take advantage of expedited passage only at their home airport. Other guidelines for the business model listed in the RFI include creating a public-private partnership with clear revenue allocation guidelines; the collection of ten fingerprints and two iris images at enrollment; utilizing smart cards to verify identities; rapidly rolling out the program; sustaining the program through user fees; and including “an identity authentication and verification element to link the security threat assessment to the correct individual through the biometric.”

TSA also released a request for support for the agency’s implementation of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program. The company which provides the support services will not be allowed to participate in the TWIC competition due to conflict of interest. The support contract will be for three to four consultants for a base year and four option years. The services will be provided in areas of biometric authentication, smart card solutions, physical and logical access, and public key infrastructure, among others.

-see the RFI for Registered Traveler at this Web site; and the RFI for TWIC at this page