TSA expands airport access control pilot

The Transportation Security Administration is adding two airports to its Access Control Pilot Program, which is evaluating Radio Frequency Identification and other advanced technologies to limit access to nonpassenger areas to authorized personnel only, the agency announced today.

The inclusion of Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport, San Jose, Calif., and Helena Regional Airport, Helena, Mont., brings the number of airports included in phase one of the pilot program to 10. The program got under way in April, when the first eight airports were identified. This initial phase should be concluded by year's end, a TSA spokeswoman said.

Phase two, which will be run in 10 other airports, will continue the evaluation of technologies while incorporating lessons learned in the initial round.

Unisys Corp., Blue Bell, Pa., was chosen by TSA in October 2003 to be the prime contractor for the pilot program. The contract has a maximum value of $17 million over 20 months.

The program is testing RFID, biometric, advanced video surveillance and anti-piggybacking technologies in various combinations at the airports:

  • Boise Air Terminal/Gowen Field Airport, Boise, Idaho, is testing a system that combines fingerprint biometric and RFID technology;

  • Miami International Airport is evaluating a perimeter defense system that incorporates fiber-optic fence netting, passive infrared zone control and intelligent video analysis;

  • Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is testing a barrier-free intrusion detection system using intelligent video analysis and microwave zone control;

  • Newark International Airport, Newark, N.J., is evaluating a system that uses fingerprint biometric technology;

  • Savannah International Airport, Savannah, Ga., is making use of intelligent video surveillance technology;

  • Southwest Florida International Airport, Fort Myers, Fla., is evaluating new RFID and wireless fingerprint biometric technology to enhance security at a vehicle gate;

  • T.F. Green State Airport, Providence, R.I., is testing controlled access to a secure area using an iris biometric recognition system, along with anti-piggybacking detection using RFID technology;

  • Tampa International Airport, Tampa, Fla., is evaluating the viability of portable proximity card readers and fingerprint recognition technology;

  • In San Jose, the pilot program will try out several technologies, including Global Positioning System receivers and biometric technology to identify and track vehicles within the secure area; and

  • Helena Regional Airport is testing a vehicle tracking system using voice recognition, an optical character reader and video motion analysis technology to track a vehicle's authorized path in the secure area.


  • In other TSA news, the agency announced Aug. 24 that it has begun an operational test and evaluation of explosives detection screening equipment at several commercial air cargo handling facilities.

    During the two-month evaluation, TSA will analyze the use of EDS equipment now used to screen checked baggage for screening individual cargo packages.

    Testing of the screening equipment began this week at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Miami International Airport. The program will be expanded in the near future to include air cargo facilities at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in Alaska, Los Angeles International Airport and Chicago O'Hare International Airport.

    The agency also announced that it has extended its contract to Dec. 31 with the Boeing Co., Chicago, to deploy, install and maintain EDS equipment at airports throughout the United States.

    The original contract, awarded in June 2002, was for one year with four one-year options, and led to the installation of more than 7,000 pieces of equipment in 450 commercial airports.

    inside gcn

    • smart city (jamesteohart/Shutterstock.com)

      Toolkit for building a smart city plan

    Reader Comments

    Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

    Please type the letters/numbers you see above

    More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group