(TNS) — Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport is looking to take some of the uncertainty out of long security lines with new technology that will give passengers real-time information on wait times.
The airport plans to install sensors at each of its 16 Transportation Security Administration checkpoints that will measure the flow of passengers from the time they get in line through baggage screening. The technology will also be installed at the Customs and Border Protection arrivals facility.
Airport officials envision using the data gleaned from the tracking sensors and associated software to provide live updates to passengers about security line waits through the airport’s mobile app, website and eventually digital signs installed near the checkpoints themselves.
“We’ll be able to give real-time wait information,” said Julio Badin, senior vice president of customer experience. “If this [checkpoint] is at 20 minutes and this one is at 10 minutes, you could make the decision to walk ... over.”
On Thursday, the airport’s board of directors is set to vote on a three-year, $2.7 million contract with Massachusetts-based Xovis USA, which developed the technology.
If approved, Badin said the sensors should be installed in Terminals C and D by the end of the year, and in the rest of the airport’s terminals by June.
It’s the latest in a series of technology initiatives the airport has made to improve the passenger experience, particularly at security checkpoints, that regularly rates among the best in North America.
Last year, the airport unveiled new automated screening lanes at several checkpoints to help speed up lines. It’s also invested in a centralized operations hub to manage customer service, custodial and maintenance workers; parking guidance systems for its garages and more power outlets in gate seating areas.
According to Xovis’s website, the company’s sensor technology has already been used in airports in Denmark, Austria, Switzerland and Germany.
Badin said in addition to providing real-time waits to passengers, the data gathered by the system can be used to improve operations of security checkpoints and adjust staffing levels as needed.
“That will give us the opportunity to be able to pinpoint opportunities for improvement,” he said.
Additional screening lane
In addition to the new sensor system, DFW Airport is still looking at more traditional ways of reducing lines, with plans to install an additional security lane at one of its busiest checkpoints in Terminal C.
“This is one of our most heavily used checkpoints in Terminal C,” said Rusty Hodapp, the airport’s vice president of design, code and construction. “It's routinely congested, creating some public safety concerns.”
Hodapp said that at peak times, overflowing security lines at checkpoint C21 can impede passengers trying to exit the airport.
The airport plans to add a fifth lane at the checkpoint, which should improve line throughput by 25 percent, he said.
©2018 The Dallas Morning News Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.