TSA tests its smart card program

The Transportation Security Administration started evaluating specific technologies for a transportation worker identification card this week.

The technology evaluation pilot, started July 9 on the West Coast and today on the East Coast, will test potential technologies for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program, officials said today at the Smart Cards in Government conference in Arlington, Va.

The national TWIC program is a multiphase project to provide common employee identification cards for about 12 million workers. Under a 150-day, $3.8 million contract, Reston, Va.-based Maximus, Inc. and Plano, Tex.-based EDS are working with TSA to test technologies such as integrated chips, optical stripes, magnetic stripes and bar codes, said Paul Hunter, deputy director for the TWIC project. They are testing facilities in airports in Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

A second phase of the testing pilot is expected to begin in September, Hunter said.

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