Passenger Wait Times for Screening at the Airport: Measuring, Modeling, and Analysis

Principal Investigator: Amy Ward

Other Researchers: Hailong Cui


TSA has a stated desire to decrease passenger wait times for airport screening.  Even though substantial resources are devoted to passenger screening, passenger wait times can still be long.  Pre-screening is one approach TSA has taken to decrease passenger wait times.  However, as more passengers are pre-screened, the wait time for the pre-screened passengers have become longer.  This is problematic, because TSA promises shorter wait times to pre-screened passengers.  We propose to develop a model that will show the effect of increasing the percentage of pre-screened passengers on both overall wait times (including both pre-screened and non-pre-screened passengers) and on pre-screened passenger wait times.  As the percentage of pre-screened passengers increases, the overall wait times should drop, because the screening time for pre-screened passengers is shorter.  Simultaneously, the wait time for pre-screened passengers should increase, because there are more pre-screened passengers arriving to the security checkpoint.  Quantifying the effect of increasing the percentage of pre-screened passengers will allow more effective resource management, which, in turn, will ensure that pre-screened passenger wait times remain low.