Airport Biometrics--A Primer

ACRP Research Report 233: Airport Biometrics – A Primer defines and describes the landscape of biometric processes and applications for airports and their respective stakeholders. This primer includes benefits and considerations of implementing biometrics in an airport environment and addresses many elements, including: broad educational information on types and applications of biometrics, the benefits and challenges of applications beyond the government mandated biometric entry/exit program. It discusses facial recognition biometrics, including opportunities and benefits to the airport, jurisdictional issues related to governmental requirements, statutory authorities, and commercial interests. There is a section on legal and privacy implications, along with industry and government driven initiatives, system design options and interoperability at all identification points in the passenger journey and airport employee processing, as well as considerations for planning and implementation and future trends on the use of biometrics at airports. This is a timely report to discover solutions and additional suggestions for the growth of this technology and in addressing safe airport operations during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. 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 was needed to produce a primer to help airport operators and their stakeholders understand the uses and considerations of biometric technology. ACRP Project 03-55 was led by InterVISTAS with advisory support from Baldwin Liaison Consulting, Dr. Ann Cavoukian. The research undertook vision and use cases, reviewed the legal & policy considerations, planning & processes as well as system architecture and design elements, and collected input in a series of one-hour webinars hosted by the project team.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • 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: 20210208

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