TSA approves two more firms for Registered Traveler

Two more companies have been approved by the Transportation Security Administration as providers of the Registered Traveler program designed to speed enrolled travelers through airports nationwide.

The agency announced on its Web site that Unisys Corp., Blue Bell, Pa., and Verant Identification Systems Inc. of Rochester, N.Y., were certified by the agency in December as having met the minimum requirements for offering registered traveler services to sponsoring entities. A month before a subsidiary of Verified Identity Pass Inc. of New York became the first company approved.

Registered Traveler is a program sponsored by the Homeland Security Department in which frequent travelers voluntarily enroll in advance their biometric and personal information in exchange for expedited passage through airport security. The travelers pay a fee to participate. Until now, Registered Traveler has been operated as a demonstration project at a handful of airports.

In the upcoming nationwide rollout, the program will be sponsored by airports and operated by service providers approved by the TSA. To date Unisys, Verant and Verified Identity Pass are the only authorized providers, though more may be approved.

Unisys officials said in recent interviews with media outlets that they expect to begin operating a Registered Traveler program at Reno/Tahoe International Airport. Unisys operated pilot programs at the Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Houston airports.

Verified has been operating a pilot program at Orlando International Airport in Florida since June 2005. Verified said in a recent news release it expects to begin initiating Registered Traveler services this month at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York as well as at airports in San Jose, Calif., Indianapolis and Cincinnati, and expanding to as many as 20 airports within a year.

Lockheed Martin Corp., which was systems integrator for enrollments and biometric capture for Verified at the Orlando program, will continue as a subcontractor to Verified Identity Pass for account management, network management and operations. General Electric Co., which earlier this year became a partner in Verified Identity Pass, will handle enrollment.

In related news, the American Association of Airport Executives, which operates a clearinghouse that has been designated by the TSA as the central information management system for Registered Traveler, said it has signed agreements with Unisys, Verant, Verified Identity Pass and Vigilant Solutions Inc. of Jacksonville Beach, Fla. to utilize the clearinghouse for Registered Traveler.

Vigilant operates a Registered Traveler program at the Jacksonville airport and expects to receive TSA approval shortly for participating in the national rollout, Chuck Crossman, senior vice president of Vigilant, said an interview today.

Also participating in Registered Traveler pilot projects was EDS Corp. of Plano, Texas, which operated pilot programs at Boston and Washington airports.

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer for Government Computer News' affiliate publication, Washington Technology.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.


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