Airport Biometrics--A Primer

Biometric recognition refers to identification and authentication of an individual based on their physical traits. Biometric solutions are complex, multi-faceted, and quickly changing and include technical, operational, financial, legal, and programmatic considerations, among others. Currently, some airports use biometrics for employee access control. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are working together with airport operators and airlines to pilot the use of biometrics at airports for passenger processing. As airport operators see greater use of biometrics and as they consider exploring the technology, research is needed to produce a primer to help airport operators and their stakeholders understand the uses and considerations of biometric technology. The objective of this research is to develop a primer that defines and describes the landscape of biometric processes and applications for airports and their respective stakeholders. The primer would include benefits and considerations of implementing biometrics in an airport environment and should address the following elements, to include but not limited to: (1) Broad educational information on types and applications of biometrics (e.g., passenger check-in/bag drop, passenger screening, passenger boarding, employee access control, commercial applications). Benefits and challenges should consider applications beyond the government mandated biometric entry/exit program; (2) Facial recognition biometrics: Opportunities and benefits to the airport (e.g., security, efficiencies and passenger convenience); Jurisdictional issues related to governmental requirements, statutory authorities, and commercial interests (i.e., potential conflict between federal and state regulations); Legal and privacy implications (i.e., data protection and ownership, public opinion/ awareness/education, media influence); Industry and government driven initiatives (e.g., International Air Transportation Association (IATA) One ID, World Economic Forum (WEF) Known Traveler Digital Identify (KDTI), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Digital Travel Credentials (DTC); System design options and interoperability at all identification points in the passenger journey and airport employee processing (e.g., e-gates, camera on a stick, biometrics on the fly, etc.); Considerations for planning and implementation (e.g., costs, infrastructure, space and operational constraints, and stakeholder collaboration); and Future trends on the use of biometrics at airports.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $250000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 03-55

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Airport Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    Federal Aviation Administration

    Office of Research, Development and Demonstrations
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Schatz, Theresia

  • Performing Organizations:


    Washington, DC  United States 
  • Principal Investigators:

    Wong, Solomon

  • Start Date: 20200507
  • Expected Completion Date: 20210208
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01713675
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 03-55
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Aug 12 2019 3:18PM