In a joint venture between the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and United Airlines, the first automated checkpoint screening lanes at Newark Liberty International Airport were rolled out in late November. This new security technology is being implemented in an effort to enhance airport security for travelers while simultaneously decreasing the time it takes to pass through security checkpoints.
Automated screening lanes are basically large roller-based conveyor belt systems capable of accommodating multiple passengers at one time. Passengers present to the security checkpoint, place their carry-on items in a large stainless steel bin and the contents are then carried away and scanned through an x-ray machine. Once the passenger’s carry-on contents have been cleared, the bins are returned to the start of the queue via a conveyor system beneath the screening lane, and the traveler moves quickly through the checkpoint.
Some of the new innovations that travelers can expect to see from the implementation of automated screening lanes include:
- Conveyor systems large enough to accommodate five passengers simultaneously
- Increased size of property bins
- Fluid movement into and out of automated security checkpoints
- Enhanced accountability for individual belongings with the implementation of Unique Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags
- Photographic images captured of each property bin, rather than manual rummaging by TSA agents
One of the best new security features of these automated lanes is their ability to trigger an alarm if a carry-on bin is detected as a potential threat and shuffle it to a separate area for examination by TSA agents while other passengers continue on through the checkpoint lane.
New Jersey TSA Federal Security Director Thomas Carter says that his “main priority is to protect passengers traveling out of Newark Liberty in an evolving threat environment,” stating that the launch of this new technology is “an important step . . . in maintaining effective security.”