TSA announces 8 airports participating in Access Control Pilot Program

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National Press Release
Thursday, June 3, 2004

WASHINGTON - Rear Adm. David Stone, Acting Administrator for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), today announced that eight airports have been selected to participate in TSA's Access Control Pilot Program which will test Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, Anti-Piggybacking technology, advanced video surveillance technology and various biometric technologies. The airports are Boise Air Terminal/Gowen Field Airport (BOI), Boise, Idaho; Miami International Airport (MIA), Miami, Fla.; Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), Minneapolis, Minn.; Newark International Airport (EWR), Newark, N.J.; Savannah International Airport (SAV), Savannah, Ga.; Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW), Ft. Myers, Fla.; T. F. Green State Airport (PVD), Providence, R.I.; and Tampa International Airport (TPA), Tampa, Fla.

"This pilot program will test new technologies designed to ensure that only authorized personnel have access to non-passenger controlled areas," Stone said. "TSA believes that this cutting edge technology will enhance the security of the aviation system and keep us one step ahead of those who seek to harm us."

Below is a description of technology projects to monitor and control authorized access:

  • Boise Air Terminal/Gowen Field Airport will test a system that combines fingerprint biometric and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to control vehicle access.
  • Miami International Airport will test a new defense system that will incorporate intelligent video analysis and other technology to detect intruders at the perimeter.
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport will demonstrate a detection system using intelligent video analysis to differentiate between persons who are authorized and not authorized access to secured areas of the airport.
  • Newark International Airport will test a system using fingerprint biometric technology to allow only authorized persons in secure areas of the airport.
  • Savannah International Airport will focus on intelligent video surveillance technology to allow only authorized personnel to operate a cargo elevator that provides access to secure areas of the airport.
  • Southwest Florida International Airport will evaluate new RFID and wireless fingerprint biometric technology intended to enhance the level of security at a vehicle gate.
  • T. F. Green State Airport will focus on controlling access to a secure area via an iris biometric recognition system. In addition, the entrance will employ anti-piggy backing detection (stopping more than one vehicle from gaining entrance at a time).
  • Tampa International Airport will test the viability of portable card readers and fingerprint recognition technology at a vehicle gate.

TSA has developed a two-phase pilot program starting with Phase I, including these initial eight airports testing various off-the-shelf biometric technologies under a variety of real-world operational environments in an effort to provide unbiased evaluations of their suitability of use. Based on that analysis, TSA will then determine which technologies will be evaluated in the Phase II airports. Information gathered during these pilot projects will be made available to appropriate industry representatives so that they may make informed decisions when designing access control systems to meet their security and regulatory needs.

In October 2003, TSA awarded a contract to Unisys to be the systems integrator for the pilot program. The contract has a maximum government obligation of $17 million over 20 months.

The Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA) mandated that the "Administrator shall establish pilot programs in no fewer than 20 airports to test and evaluate new and emerging technology for providing access control and other security protections for closed or secure areas of the airports. Such technology may include biometric or other technology that ensures only authorized access to secure areas.