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Fast Is Better for Airport Security

January 8, 2008
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Clear just told Zalud’s Blog it will award a $500,000 “Clear Prize” to the first team to deploy faster security lane technology at an airport. Clear has promised that the winning team’s technology will be purchased in bulk, once approved for use by the Transportation Security Administration at any airport where Clear operates fast pass lanes.

Clear will host a half-day symposium for invited participants on February 13 at the Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum at the San Francisco International Airport to present the criteria for entry. A “Clear Prize” Advisory Panel, consisting of chief technology officers and/or security directors of several of the leading airports and airlines that have partnered with Clear, will assist in the selection of the prize winner. A fact sheet on the Clear Prize and Event is below.

Clear’s chief technology officer Jason Slibeck said, “The Clear Prize is the next phase of providing expedited passage through the security checkpoints for Clear members. We’re looking for both all-encompassing technology to change dramatically the checkpoint process and simple, discrete improvements that apply common sense solutions for easing the security bottleneck.”

“There are literally hundreds of creative teams out there with cutting edge technology products that potentially could speed throughput while enhancing security. We want to bring these solutions to the forefront faster than the process has been moving,” explained Clear CEO Steven Brill.

“As is well known,” Brill added, “We’ve invested in GE’s shoe scanner and explosive trace detection technology and are hopeful that GE will succeed in getting it through the final stages of the TSA approval process. But we’ve now decided to prime the pump and accelerate the race by offering not only a substantial cash prize but a contract to buy the equipment for all the airports where Clear now operates and all of the other airports we will launch this year and next.”

Brill also noted that because GE is an equity shareholder in Clear and because its shoe scanner is already in the final stages of TSA testing for deployment, GE will not be eligible for the Clear Prize.  

“This prize is one way that we will continue to offer higher throughput to participating airports and airlines,” said Larry Zmuda, Clear’s chief operating officer. “We are intensely focused on making sure that our lanes maintain a substantially higher throughput and accommodate more passengers than the non-Clear lanes. We already do that with our concierges, who speed throughput 30% by helping people divest and retrieve items like cell phones and shoes,” Zmuda added. “Enhanced technology is another resource we will deploy on a continuing basis to add to those improvements in efficiency and predictability.”

About Clear – Clear, operated by Verified Identity Pass, Inc., has signed up over 87,000 travelers nationwide. Clear cards are accepted at 13 U.S. airports (Albany, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, LaGuardia, Little Rock, New York JFK, Newark, Orlando, Reno, San Francisco, San José, and Westchester). Clear lanes will open later this month at the Denver International Airport. Reagan, Dulles, Oakland, and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport have announced plans to launch fast pass programs this winter. Clear members are pre-screened and provided with a high-tech card which allows them to access designated security lanes nationwide. Clear members pass through the security checkpoint faster, with more predictability and less hassle. The annual fee of $99.95 is charged once applicants are approved by the government. Applicants start their enrollment at flyclear.com and complete the process at an enrollment location where their fingerprints and iris images are captured and their identification is validated. Clear has been operational since July 19, 2005. For more information, please visit: flyclear.com.

FACT SHEET

The $500,000 Clear Prize for Innovation in Enhancing Throughput at Pre-Board Security Checkpoints

Clear’s mission is to increase the capacity of the security checkpoints at which we operate, thereby providing consistently faster passage through the checkpoints for members of our program. Our efforts result in shorter lines and waits for non-members, too, because our lanes are able to absorb a disproportionate share of travelers. We accomplish this by making the process more efficient while enhancing security. 

How do we do this? We look at the airport pre-board security checkpoint process from the earliest stages of identity checking to the often-overlooked area of re-vesting and clearing beyond the checkpoint. We rely on practical experience, detailed management analysis and innovative technology approaches to process improvement. We focus on keeping the core experience as free as possible from hassle – such as having to remove shoes, outer garments, or laptops. Thus, we are constantly searching for technical solutions and innovative management processes to transform how the world thinks about the security checkpoint.

Now, we have decided to crystallize that ongoing effort around the $500,000 “Clear Prize” – which will be awarded to the first team that can install, at our expense, a real world security checkpoint at a Clear lane that meets the following criteria:

Achieves acceptance by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for deployment at Clear lanes as providing the same or better security than the current Registered Traveler checkpoint process.

Reduces inconvenience by, for example, allowing for no divesting of shoes, outer garments, or any other item approved for carry-on aboard a US commercial flight, and thereby achieves an increase in throughput of 15% or more.

Is compact enough to be deployed at security checkpoints in at least three Clear airports.

Is deployed and can be operated at a cost (including capital costs amortized over five years) of less than 25 cents per passenger screened when working at full capacity.

We will also encourage the prize winner, if it is a corporation, to give the cash award to the members of the team that creates the prize-winning solution.

In addition to the $500,000 prize, Clear will commit to a contract for the capital investment and operating costs necessary to deploy the winning checkpoint at every Clear checkpoint where the solution is accepted for installation by the airport and the TSA.

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