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One Step Biometric Boarding

RTR has played a significant role behind the scenes with aiding CBP efforts with streamlining travelers experience in numerous ways.

Below are areas of work that RTR completed to help modernize airports infrastructure.

  • Data collections
  • Time and motion studies
  • Analysis of Alternatives
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Visualization



New Mobile Passport Control App Available

WASHINGTON—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) today announced the launch of the first authorized app to expedite a traveler’s entry process into the United States. Mobile Passport Control (MPC) will allow eligible travelers to submit their passport information and customs declaration form via a smartphone or tablet prior to CBP inspection. This first-of-its-kind app was developed by Airside Mobile and Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) in partnership with CBP as part of a pilot program at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. IPhone and iPad users can download the app for free from Apple’s App Store.

“We are strongly committed to the facilitation of travel and tourism to the United States, all while maintaining the highest security standards in the world,” said Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. “Mobile Passport Control is an important step and one that we think the traveling public will embrace.” 

Eligible travelers arriving at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport will be able to use the app beginning Aug. 13. MPC is expected to expand to more airports later this year and to Android smartphone users in the future.

“CBP continues to transform the international arrivals experience for travelers by offering new and innovative ways to expedite entry into the United States, while maintaining the highest standards of security” said CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske. “By offering this app to passengers, we hope to build upon the success we have already experienced with Automated Passport Control, which has resulted in decreases in wait times as much as 25-40 percent, even with continued growth in international arrivals.”

MPC currently offers U.S. citizens and Canadian visitors a more efficient and secure in-person inspection between the CBP officer and the traveler upon arrival in the United States. Much like Automated Passport Control, the app does not require pre-approval, is free-to-use and does not collect any new information on travelers.  As a result, travelers will experience shorter wait times, less congestion and faster processing.

“Mobile Passport exemplifies the forward-thinking commitment CBP and airports have to improving the passenger experience when entering the United States,” said ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke.  “This partnership between CBP and ACI-NA also represents an outstanding example of industry and government working together to find smart, cost-effective solutions.  We look forward to continuing our collaboration with CBP as Mobile Passport begins its roll-out at U.S. airports later this year.”

There are five easy steps to MPC:

  • Download the Mobile Passport Control App from the Apple App Store prior to arriving
  • Create a profile with your passport information
  • Complete the “New Trip” section upon arrival in the United States
  • Submit your customs declaration form through the app to receive an electronic receipt with an Encrypted Quick Response (QR) code. This receipt will expire four hours after being issued
  • Bring your passport and smartphone or tablet with your digital bar-coded receipt to a CBP officer

ACI-NA contracted with Airside Mobile in MPC’s technical development.  Information about Mobile Passport, including how to download, user eligibility and other frequently asked questions, is available on the Travel section of the CBP.gov website and the Airside Mobile website.

MPC is just one part of CBP’s resource optimization strategy which is transforming the way CBP does business in land, air and sea environments. As part of its commitment to innovation, CBP last year rolled out Automated Passport Control, which is now available in 22 locations, and automated the I-94 form. CBP has also enrolled more than two million travelers in trusted traveler programs such as Global Entry, NEXUS and SENTRI. These programs allow CBP officers to process travelers safely and efficiently while enhancing security and reducing operational costs.

Screenshot of Mobile Passport Control App welcoming page Screenshot of Mobile Passport Control App Profile page
Screenshot of Mobile Passport Control App New Trip page Screenshot of Mobile Passport Control App Receipt page

We build it a thousand times so you only build it once!

RTR is a small technical services firm providing a wide range of analytical services leveraging its generalized experience in process discovery, data collection, computer simulation, visualization, and software development, and its specific experience in specialized subject matter areas including border security, equipment maintenance, and medical operations.  Our specialty has and will continue to be operations research with a focus on process analysis leveraging modeling and simulation.  Any process that involves a large number of repetitive operations that can be classified and quantified can be analyzed and optimized using these techniques.  The results of these analyses can be expressed in many forms including resources used, dollars spent, time spent by process and even as high resolution 3D visualizations of the existing and/or proposed system under study.  The RTR team can provide a whole host of additional services and improvements in the form of training materials, automated data collection and documentation systems, and user-interface simplifications in different forms, all of which can add value to or support for your other ventures. 

Q: What customers have you served?

A: RTR's employees have primarily served governmental customers in the Department of Defense, GSA and the Department of Homeland Security and its antecedents. We have served Navy NAVAIR and Marine air organizations, the General Services Administration (GSA) Public Building Services organization, and the DHS Transportation Security Administration (TSA), The Secret Service, and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Our commercial customers include the games industry, dental and medical offices, airlines, steel manufacturers, software development teams, power companies, metal foundries, auto manufacturers, insurance companies, banks, and others.

Q: What experience do you have with process analysis and modeling?

A: RTR and its employees have been analyzing and modeling different processes in a wide range of industries for up to 50 years. The ultimate end product of any research and modeling effort may change depending on the customer's needs. Analysis and simulation efforts have provided the following as formal deliverables:

  • Reports, Statistics, Visualizations, User Operated Computer Models and simulation Tools

   Some Examples:

        Analysis Report summarizing how to structure operations to achieve a given result

        An independent verification, validation and accreditation (VV&A) report in accordance with DoD MIL-STD-3022

        A discrete event simulation a customer can use for their own explorations without the vendor's input

Q:  What is the benefit of modeling and simulation?

A:  Building a model that represents your existing or proposed operation forces us to discover all of the details about the process, from all of the steps to all of the entities to all of the parameters describing each.  Building and running the baseline model helps ensure that we understand all the components of your process and that we represented them correctly both qualitatively and quantitatively.  Once we identify beneficial changes to the process we can adjust the model quickly to see how the performance of the proposed system changes.  In short, it allows us to measure the benefit of the change without having to implement the change.

Q:  If you’ve never analyzed a process like mine before, what makes you think you can do it?

A:  The steps involved in discovering how a process works and turning it into a model are not specific to each process but general across all processes.  We always have to understand the customer’s goals, characterize the means by which those goals will be achieved, work with the customer to reach a common understanding of the system to be modeled or analyzed, construct a model, and exercise the model to produce results that give insight into how the process works and can be improved.

Q:  What kinds of benefits have you realized for customers?

  • Reduced resource consumption, cost, pollution, waste, errors and wait times
  • Increased throughput
  • Improved training and situational awareness
  • Verification that a proposed design does or does not meet the customer’s requirements
  • Changes to proposed designs that result in a system that does meet the customer’s requirements

Q:  What are a couple of examples of process improvements you recommended and how did you identify them?

A:  In one case we were analyzing the layout of a land border crossing and were assessing the effectiveness of one of our standard techniques of improving throughput:  licensing certain classes of border-crossers so they may be processed more quickly in specially-dedicated lanes.  It took looking at the output of a model, however, to notice that the specific layout of this port prevented most border crossers from realizing the benefits of this technique, because of the limited number of lanes available for all traffic as part of the approach to primary processing.  We recommended some prospective changes to the layout that allowed the cleared travelers to access the dedicated booths with less interference, thus improving overall throughput.  We were also able to determine what level of overall participation in this special program would result in keeping normal queues from interfering with the approaches to the special booths in more situations.

In a different case we were analyzing a process where certain individuals were performing duties besides those that actually generated revenue for the organization.  We determined which of the non-revenue-generating activities could be streamlined or performed outright be less expensive employees, so the revenue generated by the most skilled employees could be maximized.  We also verified that the increase in revenue was less than the additional cost of the additional support employees, so it was confirmed that the entire operation was both able to see more customers and generate more revenue as a systemic whole.

Q:  We already have excellent data about our process.  Can you make use of that?

A:  If we need data, we have a way to collect it.  If you already have data, we have a way to use it.  We also perform a range of statistical analyses and expert reviews on data to determine whether we have sufficient sample quantities to ensure we can accurately characterize the range of intermediate and end results that may be observed.

Q:  Can you work with other vendors and systems?

A:  We have worked for and with a wide range of customers and partners using a variety of contract vehicles, so we are able to share services and information as needed.

Facial Recognition, The New Era of Technology

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) deployed a series of pilots at select airports to demonstrate to airlines and airports how biometrics can be integrated into current boarding processes, provide real-time, centralized biometric matching capabilities, and record biometrically verified outbound departures in CBP systems. Specifically, live photos of passengers will be compared against the photos stored in CBP systems utilizing the flight departure manifest.

As part of this effort, RTR Technologies was contracted to perform time and motion studies of international departure operations at six airport locations, prior to, and after deployment of the pilot. The purpose of the studies was to observe and record key operational metrics in order to assess the impact of the new technology on current operations. Findings from these studies assist CBP in identifying new or needed changes in technical requirements, identifying problem area or best practices, and quantifying the impact on let operational metrics such as boarding time, passenger process time, etc. Learn more about the work RTR performed behind the scences.


Disruptive Technology Summit 2.1

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