Feds TRIP up train riders

This morning's commute was a little different for people traveling on Amtrak and Maryland Rail Commuter (MARC) trains at the New Carrollton, Md., station.

Today kicked off a 30-day pilot test involving explosives screening. The process may remind some commuters of airport security measures, but because the program searches solely for explosives, passengers will not be stripped of pocketknives, scissors and metal objects.

Officials are using the Transportation Security Administration's Transit and Rail Inspection Pilot (TRIP) program to evaluate new technologies to screen passengers and their carry-on items for explosives. TSA officials expect TRIP to gather data on cost, customer wait times, impact on Amtrak and MARC operations, and the effectiveness of screening equipment in a nonclimate-controlled environment. "As we test these new processes and technologies we expect to learn valuable lessons today that will allow us to better protect rail passengers tomorrow," said Asa Hutchinson, undersecretary for border and transportation security at DHS.

TSA personnel will screen passengers at the New Carrolton station from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. during the week, and in the afternoon and early evening on Sundays. Canine teams will conduct random searches.

Passengers will be asked to place bags and other carry-on items on a conveyor belt for screening. Then, they will walk through a portal where they will pause for a few seconds and feel several quick puffs of air before hearing a computerized voice say they may proceed.

Late last month, House Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) prodded TSA for additional checkpoint staffing. He also asked how agency officials plan to decide which luggage to test and how the TRIP would potentially expand across the Washington, D.C., metro area and the rest of the country.

Featured

  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.