Monday, November 05, 2007

Airport screening lines improving

Human Factors study of security lines ...

"When security lines seem to stretch back to the long-term parking lot, air travelers can take heart.

A University at Buffalo study on the behavior of security screeners has some good news and bad news for anyone trying to make a flight.

The good news: screeners examine some carry-on articles faster — up to one-third faster — when lines are longest. The bad news: the speed-up only

applies to laptop computers. Jackets and bags still go through the X-ray at their regular pace.

“It goes the way you’d expect,” UB engineering professor Colin Drury said, but “no one’s ever looked at this.”

Drury, director of UB’s Research Institute for Safety and Security in Transportation, was among a group of four Buffalo researchers who studied security lines at a mid-sized airport. (He wouldn’t say whether Buffalo Niagara International Airport was the one.) During 24 one-hour observation periods, one person timed the passage of articles through the screening system, while another observed the line’s length.

The laptop speed-up was most pronounced when security workers could easily see the length of the line they were working on.

But why laptops? Drury said the computers may be easier to screen because they’re fairly uniform and don’t present multiple layers of interior components to a security worker.

The findings of the group, which also included Clara V. Marin, Rajan Batta and Li Lin of UB, were presented at the annual meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society in Baltimore last month."    (Continued via The Buffalo News)    [Ergonomics Resources]

Security Screening Line - Ergonomics

Security Screening Line

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