Enhancing Aviation Security with The SWIFT System (Short Wait Integrated Flight Travel)

Date of Original Version



Working Paper

Abstract or Description

The SWIFT (Short-Wait Integrated Flight Travel) System represents an initiative by Carnegie Mellon University’s H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management to design an airport security system that is both more secure and more efficient. With SWIFT, travelers who volunteer to submit to a security clearance by TSA and pass will receive a “smart card” containing personal and biometric information. SWIFT enrollees will be able to go through a security screening comparable to that which was used prior to September 11, 2001. By screening SWIFT enrollees prior to their arrival at an airport, TSA can focus its resources on more thorough screening of not-cleared individuals. Our research focused on estimating the demand for SWIFT enrollment, design of a reasonable system that included biometric screening of all those carrying a SWIFT card, review of current technological opportunities for screening SWIFT passengers, initial design of a national SWIFT network, identifying processing enhancements of the current system, analyzing costs and benefits of the various improvements through the use of simulation modeling, and designing an initial test implementation of the SWIFT System at the Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT). The results of this research hold promise for creating an airport security system that is markedly more secure and more efficient than the current one.