Research Projects

Guidance for Identifying and Implementing "Touchless Travel" Technologies at Airports In Reserve

Airports are in need of a guidance to identify key touchpoints and implementable technology solutions to institute a "touchless travel" model in order to improve security and safety for passengers, employees, and tenants.

Background (Describe the current situation or problem in the industry, and how your idea would address it.)

There has always been an interest in moving airports to a "touchless travel" model for enhanced security measures and a smoother passenger journey. With the disruption caused by COVID-19, there is now an additional need to reduce the risk of spreading contagious diseases between passenger, tenant, and employee interactions as well as heavily used shared surfaces such as check-in kiosks, paper boarding passes, concessionaire point of sale units, and manual bag tagging. The need to investigate key points along the airport journey to implement touchless technologies for passengers traveling within highly trafficked areas of the airports and for tenants and employees is paramount. From parking to concessions to the security checkpoint, there is a need to investigate technology solutions that can address these key touchpoints to improve security and safety. Implementing a "touchless" environment within the airport significantly reduce the spread of contagious diseases, limits resources/services interaction of physical hardware surfaces, increases passenger health awareness and confidence, allows for more secure forms of identification, and improves the passenger experience.

Objective (What is the desired product or result that will help the airport industry?)

A Guidebook should be developed to evaluate what touchpoints throughout the airport journey could be improved with technologies to reduce the risk of safety and security concerns and identify what solutions are available to meet these goals. This would include replacing legacy physical interactive technologies with those that eliminate or minimize interactions between individuals themselves, as well as between individuals and heavily used surfaces, within the airport environment.

Approach (Describe in general terms the steps you think are needed to achieve the objective.)

Review and outline the current airport passenger journey as it exists in the industry today

Identify the main touchpoints between passengers, tenants, and employees that create the most risk for security and safety concerns

Research and compile a list of technology solutions to address these at-risk touchpoints

Develop a use case study for a small, medium, and large size airport

Develop best practices and lessons learned

Develop a concept of operations

Recommend technology solutions to support the reduction of interactions for the most at-risk touchpoints

Cost Estimate and Backup (Provide a cost estimate and support for how you arrived at the estimate.)

$500,000 – There is a lot of research to be done to address reducing interactions at these at-risk touchpoints with the airport environment, as not many of these technologies are considered advanced and have been implemented yet in the U.S. This guidance will also require thorough investigation of the infrastructure required to support these systems as well as any resulting change management, processes, procedures, policies, and staffing that come with implementing new technologies.

Related Research - List related ACRP and other industry research; describe gaps (see link to Research Roadmaps above), and describe how your idea would address these gaps. This is a critical element of a synthesis topic submission.

Several individual technology-related ACRP guidance exist, such as ACRP 03-55, but none of them address a holistic approach to addressing "touchless" travel or airports going to a "touchless" model using technology specifically to address disease mitigation.

Idea No. 470