Use Of 3D Scans On Carry-On Bags Could Reduce TSA Wait Times By 30%

Image courtesy of frankieleon

For much of the spring and beginning of the summer, the Transportation Security Administration and airlines have worked — and spent millions of dollars — to alleviate long lines at security checkpoints at the nation’s airports. Today, the agency unveiled two additional measures to speed things along: computed tomography (CT) scanners to inspect carry-on bags and automated checkpoints. 

The TSA said on Tuesday that it will launch a pilot program at the Phoenix airport later this fall that uses CT scanners to inspect carry-on baggage.

While CT scanners are already used to screen checked baggage, the pilot will be the first of its kind at airports when it comes to carry-on bags, the agency said.

The automated process largely eliminates the need for physical inspection of bags by TSA personnel and make it possible for travelers to leave liquids, gels and aerosols, as well as laptops, in their carry-on bags at all times.

The scanners generate a 3D image that is analyzed by computers. If an item in the bag appears suspicious, a security worker will check the bag.

In addition to that pilot program, the TSA and American Airlines said on Tuesday that they have partnered to install new screening technology at American hubs in Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami that aim to decrease time spent in security screening by 30%.

The modified screening lanes – which have already been in use at the Atlanta airport as part of a TSA initiative with Delta Air Lines – automate many of the duties done physically by security workers.

For example, the new lanes will draw bags into the X-ray machines, return the bins back to queue after completion of the screening, and move suspicious bags to a separate area for additional screening to allow bins behind it to continue through the system uninterrupted.

“Our foremost priority is the security of the traveling public,” TSA Administrator Peter V. Neffenger said in a statement. “To ensure that we remain up-to-date in an evolving threat environment, TSA continues to test and deploy state-of-the-art technologies. This collaboration with American Airlines is an important step in enhancing the traveler experience while maintaining effective security.”