Automated Measurement of Wait Times at Airport Security: Deployment at Indianapolis International Airport, Indiana

An anonymous Bluetooth tracking system was deployed at the new Indianapolis International Airport in Indiana from May 8 to June 2, 2009, to measure the time for passengers (a) to move from the nonsterile side of the airport (presecurity), (b) to clear the security screening checkpoint, and (c) to enter the walkway to Concourse B on the sterile side. The maximum passenger transit time between these checkpoints was observed on Monday mornings at approximately 0600, when it could take passengers up to 20 min to transit the security queue and screening and to walk to Concourse B. Depending on the day of the week, this approach was demonstrated to sample between 5% and 6.8% of passengers. This modest sample size provides a more robust measurement of screening times than the current system of manually distributing time-stamped cards as passengers enter the queue and collecting them where passengers pass through the magnetometer. Furthermore, because the final passenger reference point used in this study is on the sterile concourse, it captures the time associated with passengers repackaging their belongings and redonning their shoes. The data from this pilot study suggest the feasibility of using an automated system to provide quantitative information to managers for more effective allocation of scarce resources, as well as providing the traveling public with necessary information about the amount of time they should allocate for transiting the security screening process. The paper concludes by suggesting that additional pilot studies should be performed at several airports with alternative checkpoint configurations to develop a consensus on best practices for locating sensors to measure passage times at airport security screening.


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  • Accession Number: 01151266
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780309160476
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 10-1438
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jan 25 2010 10:38AM