Threats to national security in the United States have increased in number and form. Perpetrators are using increasingly clever means in hopes of outmaneuvering new technology. As the Transportation Security Administration ramped up its efforts, an unfortunate side effect surfaced—the traveling public felt stressed and at odds with Transportation Security Officers, who were working to protect both airline passengers and the country.
As a result, leadership at TSA created a dramatic change in approach. Rather than focusing solely on the detection of objects, they sought to focus on two things: explosives and people with “hostile intent.” It was clear that trying to observe the subtleties of hostile intent would be less effective in a chaotic environment filled with stressed passengers. IDEO was engaged to design a solution that calmed the environment of the checkpoint, thus making potential threats stand out.
By reducing stress in the checkpoint, both security and the passenger experience are improved by making hostile intent more visible. A better passenger experience may lead to a better partnership between the public and the Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) who are watching for anomalous behavior.