TSA offering $15k to help solve security lines

Apparently TSA has finally noticed that airport security lines are really long, and NBC News is reporting that they’re offering a 7-28-14-7cash reward to help solve the problem. If they choose your idea as the winner, you can get up to $5k in cash. Alas, they want suggestions a little more complicated than someone making sure people are ready to go when they get to the front of the line. From the contest website:

Current queue layouts at TSA Pre™ airports will need to adapt to support the increasing population of TSA Pre™ passengers.  TSA is looking for the Next Generation Checkpoint Queue Design Model to apply a scientific and simulation modeling approach to meet queue design and configuration needs of the dynamic security screening environment with TSA Pre™.

Scientific and simulation modeling? Maybe not my cup of tea. But if someone can solve the airport security problem, they will earn some money and have the undying gratitude of millions of travelers. As Andy’s Travel Blog said last night,

What better way to source hundreds of ideas than by dangling at $15000 carrot at the end of a stick?  Getting McKinsey & Company to examine the process would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, so I applaud them for trying to be cost-conscious about it.

Although does anyone else think it’s interesting that this is happening right after they doubled security fees for flights? Guess they figured they had to spend that money somehow….

Until the magical solution is found, the best thing to do is make sure you (and everyone you know) are as prepared for the security line as possible. Just like the tip from a recent Weekend Express, the best way to speed up the line is to have all of your stuff ready to go—ID, boarding pass, liquids bag, laptop, and slip-on shoes. (Check out my post on more tips for making airport security as stress-free as possible.)

Readers, what do you think? Is the TSA crazy or brilliant for trying to crowd-source a solution?

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Comments

  1. Crowd sourcing is a great thing—major companies from Dell to Starbucks to Netflix engage in these kinds of challenges fairly regularly.

    Personally I think the reward for the challenge is a little bit “light” but I guess TSA views the ROI/satisfaction drivers as minimal because since the U.S. does not really have a major competing transportation infrastructure, the airlines are probably not putting too much pressure on potential downstream financial implications.

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