March 6, 2015 7:45 am
As the media continues to show growing Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint lines, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) is using BlipTrack technology it says is helping. Initial studies show a 33% reduction in queue times.
Over the past ten years CVG has become more of an origin/destination airport as opposed to a connecting hub. This is a significant dynamic change to how they used to do business because it means that more passengers need to be processed through Transport Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints. In addition, the TSA also went through significant changes and how they process customers.
To help handle the increasing passenger numbers smoothly and efficiently, the airport implemented the BlipTrack solution, including Wi-Fi sensors, which measures, analyzes and predicts passenger´s queue times.
CVG initially partnered with Purdue University in 2011 for technology proof-of-concept testing prior to research and acquisition of the BlipTrack solution. The Purdue team returned in 2014 to quantify the security wait time improvements in the reconfigured terminal and the impact of the new pre-check lanes:
• In comparison to standard wait times in 2011, wait times were reduced by nearly 4¼ minutes in 2014 (from 13.2 minutes to 8.9 minutes).
• In comparison to standard screening wait times, TSA pre-check saved more than 26,000 person hours in wait time over Nov-Dec 2014.
The BlipTrack works by detecting mobile devices, such as phones and tablets, using Wi-Fi sensors. By re-identifying the devices from multiple sensors, the travel times, wait times and movement patterns become available. Importantly, the solution does not send or track any personal information; it simply monitors the number of mobile phone signals in a given area.
The data helps CVG better plan staffing and number of open lanes, and gives early warning if areas in the terminal are becoming congested, so staff can prevent bottlenecks to ultimately reduce processing times.
From a passenger perspective, the solution has also allowed the airport to display accurate queue wait times on screens and on the airport’s website, helping the traveler by reducing frustration and enjoying a more stress-free and pleasant transit experience.
"The solution has positioned CVG on the technology cutting edge of real-time analytics and efficiency planning. The solution provides us with immediate visibility to the customer experience and resource effectiveness with throughput planning. It allows us to put the customer at ease at a critical stress point and reinforces our expectations around superior customer experience,” said Brian Cobb, VP of Customer Services at CVG. We can say ‘here’s what’s happening with lines day to day to the minute,” it helps everyone, right down to the person standing in line. We literally put wait times in their hands.”
The technology also helps the airport measure, manage and deliver on key passenger experience initiatives in conjunction with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
“We have not been immune to the headcount changes at TSA,” said Cobb, “But because we have this technology, we can put our queue information in the hands of TSA so they can adjust our lines accordingly. Adding more staffing may not be the answer. Why not use this technology to help better staff checkpoint lines with existing staff?”.
“Our use of the technology has proven quite successful. It has enabled CVG to continue our close collaboration with TSA to ensure that the passenger experience is one that enhances the journey experience not detracts from it. Our significant investments in our facilities and the solution ensures we use them as effectively and efficiently as possible,” said Candace McGraw, CEO at CVG.“
Over time, the solution will allow the airport to analyze passengers’ movements more closely and collect data on how people use retail and restaurant options. “How long is the line at Starbucks?”, “How much time are people spending in our shops?” and so on.
“BlipTrack provides us with immediate visibility to the customer experience and resource effectiveness with throughput planning. The solution allows us to put the customer at ease at a critical stress point and reinforces our expectations around superior customer experience.” Read more
Vice President, Customer Experience at CVG
“BlipTrack has enabled CVG to continue our close collaboration with TSA to ensure that the passenger experience is one that enhances the journey experience rather than detract from it.” Read more
CEO at Cincinnati Airport