TSA looking to remove choice of security line?

It appears that the TSA is finally looking to take away one further choice for traveller – which security line to join.

How many times have you chosen the line without the family, 2 kids and a dozen bags, or the line without the backscatter machines, or just the shortest line?

Well it appears that the TSA is now looking to deny you this choice by issuing a request for proposal for randomisers – designed to instruct passengers which line to join.

The Federal Business Opportunities web site – link – has a link to the actual document.

Desciption of the System:

CTD is seeking technologies and techniques to efficiently and randomly route passengers. These Randomizers will be used at the Travel Document Checker (TDC) station, as shown in Figure 1. The Randomizers would be used to route passengers randomly to different checkpoint lines. It should be noted that the TDC is facing the passenger during this interaction, and both the TDC and the passenger need to see the result of the Randomizer. The Randomizer can be in many forms but in general, the smaller the randomizer, the better. Depending on the form factor, the element that displays the result can be placed on the TDC podium or be standalone.

There is even a nice picture of how the layout will work:

11-07-2013 05-31-08In the description there is an indication that the TSO at the Podium is required to know where the passenger has been allocated, persumably so they can correct the passenger if they choose the shortest queue.

Seems as if the TSA is planning on removing one last freedom at Security – to choose your queue!


  1. What about people traveling together? Will they all get to go through the same security line? Many couples cannot stand to be apart for more than 15 seconds.

  2. The randomizer may be a way to increase the number of people who get the PreCheck LLL type of screening at the airport and thus can keep on the harmless shoes, keep in the harmless laptops and liquids/gels/aerosols.

  3. I’ve flown several times in recent years, where I was directed vs. picking which line to go in.

  4. @Jayson – my experience is that sometimes there is only one line at smaller airports or at off-peak times. But, at busy times, at places like SFO or IAD, picking the line can be a time saver.

  5. There are some airports where there’s only AIT at some lines, where they’re expanded the number of lanes but haven’t added AIT. This, unfortunately, will remove the ability to choose the non-AIT lanes – especially when PreCheck isn’t available.

  6. I imagine “randomizing” would be the TSA’s intent to provide one more barrier to the terrorist who then could no longer be sure he can pick the path of least resistance to his progress through the checkpoint, but it flys in the face of everything else TSA is purportedly doing to separate “trusted” travelers from the untrusted ones. Which tells me it is a program with a lot of costs associated with it that is doomed to fail as soon as the rest of TSA realizes what this part of TSA is up to. That could take time.

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