One Mile at a Time writes about a frustrating TSA PreCheck phenomenon: in the rush to expand PreCheck and send as many passengers through expedited screening, the TSA has been randomly selected folks who have no idea what PreCheck is. If security matters at all, randomly not doing security seems strange.
But pushing about half of all passengers through a handful of lanes when those passengers don’t pass quickly has led to frustrating PreCheck lines at times.
Most reporting has suggested that the TSA plans to:
- Phase out the practice of randomly picking people for PreCheck, which has led to a frequent traveler happy dance — fewer uneducated passengers clogging up the lines.
- Rely more on paid individual signups — it’s all about the Benjamins.
But that’s only partially correct.
As transportation researcher Robert Poole reports in Airport Policy News, here’s the current status of PreCheck.
- PreCheck is now in place at 118 airports — everywhere they’re currently planning to roll it out.
- There are ~ 400 PreCheck lanes in total.
- About half of all passengers get PreCheck
- Less screening needs have contributed to a 7% reduction in the TSA workforce.
- There are 26 on-airport and 275 off-site PreCheck signup locations (there was a goal of 41 on-airport sites).
- Over 400,000 people hved been signed up for the PreCheck program.
The TSA won’t be priarily relying on PreCheck signups to scale the program.
Instead of “the retail approach” they’ll use third party enrollment in conjunction with “pre-qualified private consortiums” en masse.
They would be able to work with employers and industry to review large numbers of applicants, using each consortium’s TSA-approved algorithms to assess their low-risk status. The consortium would then submit a file of people it has cleared to TSA for final vetting.
Of course, since the full screening process fails as much as it succeeds, and doesn’t stop well-informed ill-doers, the random approach is just as good. They’re amalgamating a bunch of information before allowing us to exercise our right to travel without substantial encumbrance. But it could be worse.