Cover: How Much Is Enough?

How Much Is Enough?

Sizing the Deployment of Baggage Screening Equipment by Considering the Economic Cost of Passenger Delays

Published Sep 30, 2004

by Russell D. Shaver, Michael Kennedy, Chad Shirley, Paul Dreyer


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In the wake of September 11, 2001, the Transportation Security Agency was given the responsibility for ensuring that all baggage flying on U.S. commercial aircraft would be screened. Left undefined was how much baggage-scanning equipment should be deployed at each airport, given the objective of scanning all arriving baggage thoroughly while not unnecessarily inconveniencing the flying public. This documented briefing builds on an earlier RAND white paper, “Safer Skies,” answering the question, “how much is enough?” by minimizing the total direct and inferred costs to the flying public for different Electronic Detection System deployment sizes. The authors also offer a discussion of the pros and cons of positive passenger profiling and how the introduction of profiling might reduce these costs.

This research in the public interest was supported by RAND, using discretionary funds made possible by the generosity of RAND’s donors, the fees earned on client-funded research, and independent research and development (IR&D) funds provided by the Department of Defense.

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