Security lines speed up with new X-ray machines at Reagan National Airport

Passengers at Reagan National Airport can expect a speedier experience at security checkpoints this summer.

The Transportation Security Administration is in the process of deploying more than 200 new technology units, including multi-view X-ray machines and whole body imagers.

These are the first significant additions to checkpoint technology since the walk-through metal detector and standard X-ray machines were introduced in the 1970s.

Other airports receiving the new technology in the coming weeks include facilities in Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, Detroit, Las Vegas and Denver.

The faster, clearer X-ray machines will mean fewer carry-on bag checks by security officers will be required. Multi-view X-ray equipment can be upgraded as new software algorithms are mastered, and a total of 600 machines will be deployed during 2008.

The entire body imaging portals use millimeter wave technology, enabling TSA officers to screen passengers for metallic and non-metallic items without conducting pat-down inspections.

The technology, which is deployed at airports in Phoenix, Los Angeles and New York, is used as a voluntary alternative to a pat-down during a secondary screening. The machines are already in use in airports in the United Kingdom, Spain, Japan, Australia, Mexico, Thailand and the Netherlands.

Beginning Memorial Day, TSA will use a standardized list of acceptable identification for airline travel: a federal- or state-issued photo ID containing name, date of birth, gender, expiration date and a tamper-resistant feature that is free from evidence of tampering.

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