TSA may chart new course for Registered Traveler

The Homeland Security Department's Transportation Security Administration is soliciting plans for a reborn Registered Traveler program, in a possible bid to expand the five-airport pilot that bloomed last year and faded this fall.

The Registered Traveler program pilot relied on citizens submitting biographical details so that the government could process them through airport security checkpoints more quickly.

Carrie Harmon, spokeswoman for the agency, said TSA ended the pilot program, which had started in August 2004, on Sept. 30. She added that the agency plans to look at different models for the Registered Traveler program with an eye to having a national version up and running in the summer of 2006.

Contractors Unisys Corp. and Electronic Data Systems Inc. had formed teams with airlines during the pilot to test the program at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Va. and four other airports. In addition to the integrators, the pilot project included participation by American, Northwest, Continental and United airlines. TSA subsequently let the pilot expire this year.

TSA issued a request for information on Dec. 15, asking the public, which includes Unisys, EDS and other systems integrators, to propose business models for a Registered Traveler program. The RFI said the agency would hold a meeting this month to provide additional information about its plans. Responses to the RFI are due Jan. 20.

The travelers who participate in the program likely would pay fees for the privilege of getting the security screening and the resulting faster passage through airports, according to the RFI.

The RFI states that TSA has not decided to issue procurement for Registered Traveler services.

Wilson P. Dizard III is a senior writer for Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

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