The airport security line is the kind of universally despised ordeal that extraterrestrials, should they exist, would dread; even a seasoned traveler will bristle at the thought of the rigmarole of boarding pass / I.D., uncooperative scanners, doffing footwear, unwieldy bins, more scanners. At best, it’s a mildly demeaning nuisance, but what are you going to do about it?
Well, it turns out that the TSA wants to know—they recently announced an Ideation Challenge soliciting proposals for expediting the process, specifically for TSA Pre✓ passengers but ostensibly for us plebs as well. “America’s Next Generation Checkpoint Queue Design Model” may not roll off the tongue, but, hey, that’s what we’re up against (…and, as we saw a couple of weeks ago, this is what the TSA is up against).
TSA is looking for the Next Generation Checkpoint Queue Design Model to apply a scientific and simulation modeling approach to meet the dynamic security screening environment. The new queue design should include, but not limited to the following queue lanes:
· TSA Pre✓™
· Premier Passengers (1st class, business class, frequent fliers, etc.)
· Employee and Flight Crews
· PWD (wheelchair access)
The Challenge is to provide a simulation modeling concept that can form the basis to plan, develop requirements, and design a queue appropriately. The concept will be used to develop a model to be applied in decision analysis and to take in considerations of site specific requirements, peak and non-peak hours, flight schedules and TSA staffing schedules. Solvers are expected to provide the concept and provide evidence that it works as described in the requirements.
As in the MTA’s 2012 “App Quest” competition, the Transportation Security Authority is offering a total of $15,000 as, um, Innocentive. (I know it’s a portmanteau of ‘innovation’ and ‘incentive,’ but I can’t help but read it as ‘innocent’—see also Rapiscan; cf. Dr. Tobias Funke’s business cards.)