TSA Checkpoints



Is there a better, quicker way to get through airport security?

Well, the transportation security administration thinks there is.. and it's about to roll-out its checkpoint of the future.

The TSA screens some 2 million passengers each day.

So it ran focus groups and heard repeatedly that passengers want to move at their own pace.

The TSA hopes this new checkpoint addresses that - while building on the layered approach to security it believes it critical.

In a warehouse near washington, the TSA's vision for a more personal approach at the security checkpoint:

Soothing music, calming blue lights, thicker lane dividers, new uniforms and kiosks...

But with an enhanced eye for detail.

Tom: "What's the point of all this, why do this?"

Kip: "Improve security."

TSA Chief Kip Hawley calls it "checkpoint evolution" - reducing passenger stress to make nervous terrorists or criminals stand out.

Kip Hawley/TSA Administrator: "Chaos can allow terrorists to camouflage what they're doing, so for a security reason, you want to calm down the checkpoint."

And that means a change in the way tsa behavior recognition officers do their
jobs:

Instead of standing in one place - scanning the crowd - they're now being told to interact with passengers... watching for those behavioral red flags.

NBC Terrorism Analyst Roger Cressey: "...profiling gets a very bad name and I think that's a mistake. I think behavior profiling is a key component of the security process and TSA should be doing more on that."

The TSA has been under fire for failing to catch explosive components smuggled through checkpoints by government investigators.

It bans liquids and gels because it still lacks a way to detect liquid explosives.

That won't change any time soon, but the TSA is rolling out new 2-dimensional x-ray technology for a better view inside a checked bag.

"...and new full body scans that use not radiation but radio waves that would not necessarily pick up an artificial hip, but would pick up a gun, a knife, or a bomb."

Other changes: expanded use of the expert, casual and family travel lanes first tested in Denver and Salt Lake, and a new automated system for those plastic bins: Any bag requiring a second look automatically gets pushed aside.

Kip: "Well this is the place passengers are really gonna notice a difference, the bin'll be available, just pop out, put the bag in, and go."

Tom: "So the bin literally pops out right underneath, and hopefully you get more room."

Kip: "Right, it also allows you to leap frog."

The emphasis on speeding things along, while mitigating the danger:

"Airport security is really about risk management because you can't eliminate all the threats, instead what you can do is minimize the threat to the american population."

So who pays for all this? The TSA pays for the technology, airports would pay for the new color schemes and layouts.

Baltimore will be the first airport to get the new layout in the coming weeks.

Other airports that go with the new prototype will roll it out as they see fit.


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