Cincinnati Airport brings in state-of-the-art security tech to meet soaring passenger demand
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) and the TSA have smoothed passenger experience and improved security using BlipTrack technology.
CINCINNATI SKYLINE: The city's airport is the second best in America
BLIP Systems’ technology helped Cincinnati (CVG) cut its queue lengths and become Skytrax’s best airport in the 5-10 million passenger category. Last year, CVG also achieved its best ranking in the 21-year history of the U.S. Department of Transportation airfare report. All this whilst experiencing its highest passenger traffic volume since 2005, with almost seven million passengers passing through this international transport hub.
To keep the passenger experience positive, even as carrier and traveller numbers continue to rise, the airport implemented BlipTrack queue and flow technology at TSA checkpoints during 2014. The airport was the first in the United States to utilise this solution, which allows them to measure, understand and improve the traveller experience, and to better plan and allocate resources in cooperation with TSA.
After one year of use, the airport was in a position to announce that, due to the data they had gathered using BlipTrack, they had successfully reduced TSA security line wait times by one third. In a 2015 report produced by Purdue University, standard wait times had dropped by nearly over four minutes from 13.2 minutes to 8.9 minutes, compared to 2011.
Since then, the airport has gradually expanded the solution and added new features to help streamline operations further and continue improving the passenger experience. Passenger-facing wait time monitors and CVGairport.com interfaces provide immediate wait-time status, easing natural travel anxieties associated with queue lines and setting realistic expectations.
Additionally, CVG has gone so far as to establish service level agreement (SLA)-like standards for self-accountability, ensuring average wait times below 15 minutes are consistently delivered. For the second quarter ending June 2017, the average wait time for expedited screening registered at 11 minutes and 28 seconds. This is rather significant given CVG’s surge in peak-day checkpoint throughput from 10,000 to over 15,000 during the same period.
Stephen Saunders, Senior Manager of Terminal Operations at CVG said: “We have added a new feature that allows us to understand the pattern of how lanes are being utilised throughout the day. This helps us better understand TSA’s lane utilisation on any given day. Our future goal is to pair this information with passenger show-up profiles and wait-time inputs to complete a story of how the check point is operating as a whole, and help the TSA develop lane open/close plans based on predicted throughput.”
“We have used tangible data to work with our partners at TSA to adjust officer start time. We previously noticed a high spike in queue waits during our heaviest early bank of morning flights, levelling off after about 7:30. We collectively identified TSA schedules were misaligned with the flight schedules. Later security lane openings by as little as 15 minutes were incapable of catching up to and meeting the passenger demand surge. Because of this data, we recommended staffing adjustments to the local TSA leaders, which ultimately passengers and airlines benefited as evidenced by a near-immediate reduction in wait times below target and customer compliments via the Airport’s social media platforms. We remain engaged with TSA HQ in an attempt to collaborate to make real changes using this technology.”
CVG and BLIP Systems are working together to expand the solution to the outside of the terminal and throughout the airport grounds in order to amplify the passenger experience. CVG is hopeful to gain a better understanding with improved parking data analysis to discover whether more passengers are using off-site competitor parking lots, and show where passengers dwell once inside their facilities.
Mr Saunders added: “Our hope would be to expand the BlipTrack technology throughout the airport, to better understand the passenger journey from start to finish, well beyond the security checkpoint. Once we better understand the passenger journey, we can make strategic decisions, to better utilise our facilities. This allows us to demonstrate to our passengers the ease of use of our facilities and can help in calming their travel anxieties. Our goal is to use the data to create an unforgettably positive passenger experience,” ends Stephen Saunders.
Candace McGraw, CEO of CVG, said: “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.”
Today, more than 25 international airports, including JFK, San Diego, Copenhagen, Dublin, Oslo, Manchester and Brussels are using BlipTrack technology. In addition, the solution is employed in optimisation efforts in road traffic applications in Switzerland, Thailand, New Zealand, the UK, Denmark and Sweden. In recent years, it has been rolled out in ports, train stations, ski resorts, amusement parks, and at events around the world.