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Journal of Transportation Security

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 107–126 | Cite as

The tradeoff between technology and prescreening intelligence in checked baggage screening for aviation security

  • Laura A. McLay
  • Sheldon H. JacobsonEmail author
  • John E. Kobza
Article

Abstract

The Transportation Security Administration believes selective screening of aviation passengers may result in better security at airports in the United States. Under selective screening, passengers are prescreened using passenger information to determine the degree of risk that each passenger poses). This degree of risk is then used to determine the amount of security resources appropriate for that passenger. How to determine this degree of risk and the information that should be used are controversial topics, as evidenced by the large amounts of discussion concerning CAPPS and Secure Flight. This paper examines selective checked baggage screening systems that use a prescreening system and two types of baggage screening devices, one to screen checked baggage of passengers perceived as lower-risk and the other to screen checked baggage of passengers perceived as higher-risk. This paper reports a cost-benefit analysis of such selective checked baggage screening systems. The analysis is performed for several scenarios that consider various levels of accuracy of prescreening systems in assessing passenger risk. The results indicate that the accuracy of the prescreening system in assessing passenger risk is more important for reducing the number of successful attacks than the effectiveness of the checked baggage screening devices at detecting threats when few passengers are classified as higher-risk. Moreover, several selective screening scenarios are identified that may be preferable to current checked baggage screening strategies.

Keywords

Aviation security Security technology Security intelligence 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research has been supported in part by the National Science Foundation (DMI-0114499, DMI-0114046, and CBET-0735735) and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (FA9550-07-1-0232). The authors would also like to thank Dr. John J. Nestor and Dr. Lyle Malotky of the Transportation Security Administration within the United States Department of Homeland Security for their comments and feedback on earlier drafts of this manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura A. McLay
    • 1
  • Sheldon H. Jacobson
    • 2
    Email author
  • John E. Kobza
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Statistical Sciences and Operations ResearchVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Industrial EngineeringTexas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA

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