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“Positive passenger profiling” concerns finding ways to eliminate certain passengers as airline security risks through a “registered traveler” program, thus making it possible to concentrate on screening the baggage of other passengers. The result would be less cost to the airlines and fewer delays for passengers. Many people within and outside the government oppose any strategy that allows anyone (registered traveler or not) to avoid having his or her bags inspected. Others perceive the benefits of profiling as attractive despite the risks. In an attempt to balance the pros and cons of profiling, the authors sought to find a way to scan as many bags as possible without abandoning the benefits of profiling. This briefing presents their calculations of the costs and number of machines needed for various levels of screening reliability, passenger delay, passenger profiling, and traveler delay.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation documented briefing series. RAND documented briefings are based on research presented to a client, sponsor, or targeted audience in briefing format. Additional information is provided in the documented briefing in the form of the written narration accompanying the briefing charts. All RAND documented briefings undergo rigorous peer review to ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity. However, they are not expected to be comprehensive and may present preliminary findings. Major research findings are published in the monograph series; supporting or preliminary research is published in the technical report series.

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