[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 147 (Wednesday, July 30, 2008)]
[Pages 44275-44278]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-17493]



Transportation Security Administration

RIN 1652-ZA12

Registered Traveler Interoperability Pilot Program

AGENCY: Transportation Security Administration, DHS.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) published a 
notice in the Federal Register on November 24, 2006, to establish the 
Service Provider Key Personnel Fee and the Registered Traveler 
Interoperability Pilot Participant Fee for the Registered Traveler 
Interoperability Pilot (RTIP).

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Under the RTIP, passengers who voluntarily provided biometric and 
biographic information to TSA, or a TSA agent, and successfully 
completed a TSA security threat assessment, could obtain expedited 
security screening at participating airports. TSA implemented the fees 
announced in the November 24, 2006, notice to compensate TSA for the 
cost of performing security threat assessments on RTIP applicants and 
related program operation costs. Today, TSA is announcing the 
completion of the RTIP and termination of the TSA RTIP fees. TSA will 
continue to work with private sector partners as they continue to 
develop the Registered Traveler business as a private sector 
enterprise. That business is no longer limited to the 10-20 locations 
outlined in the November 24, 2006 Federal Register notice.

DATES: This notice is effective July 30, 2008.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas Cowley, Director, Aviation 
Credentialing, Office of Transportation Threat Assessment and 
Credentialing (TTAC), TSA-19, Transportation Security Administration, 
601 South 12th Street, Arlington, VA 22202-4220; facsimile (571) 227-
1936; e-mail: [email protected].


Availability of Notice Document

    You can get an electronic copy using the Internet by--
    (1) Accessing the Government Printing Office's Web page at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html; or
    (2) Visiting TSA's Security Regulations Web page at http://www.tsa.gov and accessing the link for ``Research Center'' at the top 
of the page.
    In addition, copies are available by writing the individual in the 

I. Background

    The Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA), Public Law 
107-71 (115 Stat. 597, 613, Nov. 19, 2001), sec. 109(a)(3), authorizes 
the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to ``establish 
requirements to implement trusted passenger programs and use available 
technologies to expedite security screening of passengers who 
participate in such programs, thereby allowing security screening 
personnel to focus on those passengers who should be subject to more 
extensive screening.'' To enable a nationwide private sector Registered 
Traveler (RT) business opportunity, TSA has been working, and continues 
to work, with private sector providers of RT to harmonize technologies 
and business processes with government credentialing and screening 
standards and procedures to improve commercial air travel while 
continuing to safeguard transportation and national security.
    RT has been developed through a series of three pilots. TSA 
announced the first pilot, the Registered Traveler Pilot Program, on 
July 7, 2004. The Registered Traveler Pilot Program was a federally-
managed pilot conducted at five designated airports \1\ that 
established biometrics use in identity verification and determined 
baselines for public acceptance. The second pilot program, named the 
Private Sector Known Traveler, tested the feasibility of implementing 
RT through a public/private partnership at a single airport. The third 
pilot, the RTIP, further tested and evaluated this type of trusted 
passenger program. The RTIP also introduced interoperability among 
participating airports/air carriers and operated with larger 

    \1\ Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, Los Angeles International 
Airport, George Bush International Airport/Houston, Boston Logan 
International Airport, and Ronald Reagan Washington National 

    RT is a private sector business opportunity that currently is 
supported and overseen by TSA, with distinct roles and responsibilities 
for each participating entity. Under the RTIP and its predecessor 
pilots, TSA was responsible for setting program standards and 
conducting the security threat assessment, physical screening at TSA 
checkpoints and certain forms of oversight. The private sector was 
responsible for enrollment, identity verification, concierge and 
related services.
    Under the RTIP enrollment process, RT applicants voluntarily 
provided RT Sponsoring Entities (i.e., participating airport 
authorities or air carrier operators) and Service Providers (i.e., a 
private sector vendor chosen by a Sponsoring Entity to implement RT as 
its agent) with biographic and biometric data needed for TSA to conduct 
the security threat assessment and determine eligibility. The TSA 
security threat assessment included checking each applicant's 
biographic information against terrorist-related, law enforcement, and 
immigration databases that TSA maintains or uses. RT applicants who 
received an ``approved'' security threat assessment result were 
authorized to become program participants.
    Once a traveler qualified as an approved participant, the traveler 
was able to take advantage of the expedited screening process available 
exclusively through the RT program. At the airport screening 
checkpoint, RT participants entered a designated RT lane and verified 
their identity through biometric identity verification technologies. 
This process also ensured that the individual was an ``approved'' RT 
participant. After the identity and current status of the RT 
participant were verified, the participant entered the checkpoint lane 
identified for registered travelers and underwent the applicable TSA 
checkpoint screening. These processes will remain largely unchanged 
with the end of the RTIP and expansion of RT. They should provide the 
basis to expedite the RT participants' entrance into the screening 
    In evaluating the RTIP, TSA reached several conclusions that led to 
the termination of the TSA fee being announced today. First, current 
technology is insufficient to allow anyone, even travelers who provide 
biographic and biometric information and undergo a TSA security threat 
assessment, to bypass the minimum screening procedures at airport 
security checkpoints. For example, one service provider suggested that 
a device to scan shoes replace the requirement that the passenger 
remove his or her shoes. TSA tested the shoe scanner and concluded that 
it was less effective than existing x-ray capabilities which require a 
TSA officer to monitor materials to detect potential explosive or other 
dangerous devices in shoes, purses or other carry-on materials during 
TSA screening.
    Second, TSA concluded that an individual's successful completion of 
a TSA threat assessment did not eliminate the possibility that the 
individual might initiate an action that threatens the lives of other 
passengers. Therefore, screening of these individuals should remain the 
same as screening of other passengers.
    Third, while effective identity verification is a critically 
important element in a multi-layered approach to aviation security, RT 
is not a stand-alone security program. Finally, the interoperability of 
the RT is a beneficial element. RT Service Providers have demonstrated 
the ability to verify technically and recognize revocation of each 
other's cards. Based on these observations and conclusions, TSA has 
concluded the RTIP and has decided to focus the government role in 
relation to RT on its identity verification benefits.

II. Evolution of Registered Traveler

A. Roles and Responsibilities Under RT

    With the conclusion of the RTIP, TSA is announcing modifications to 

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These modifications include changes to TSA's role. TSA will set 
security standards for RT through modifications to the Sponsoring 
Entities' security programs. TSA will continue to exercise oversight of 
the Sponsoring Entities to ensure compliance with the security 
standards. These security standards will be similar in nature to the 
security standards currently in place for the RTIP and will enhance 
security features. However, TSA will no longer set other standards for, 
or conduct security threat assessments of, RT applicants. TSA will also 
continue its screening operations at the security checkpoint. RT 
participants will continue to be screened according to the standard TSA 
screening process and vetted against the No Fly and Selectee Lists of 
the Terrorist Screening Database.
    The private sector will have the primary role in RT's future. 
Sponsoring Entities will continue to select their Service Providers and 
enter into a contractual relationship with them. The Sponsoring 
Entities will continue to be responsible for overseeing and monitoring 
their Service Providers, and for ensuring their compliance with the 
requirements of RT. These requirements are part of the Sponsoring 
Entities' security programs.
    As the vendors for the Sponsoring Entities, the Service Providers 
will continue to provide enrollment and verification services. As 
discussed in further detail in Section II.B, Sponsoring Entities and 
Service Providers may elect to develop and implement an enhanced 
identity verification process. Sponsoring Entities and Service 
Providers may also develop other benefits and innovations for RT 
provided that the benefits and innovations are not inconsistent with 
the Sponsoring Entities' security programs.
    RT benefits will continue to be determined locally and may vary by 
location. It will be the responsibility of the private sector Service 
Providers and Sponsoring Entities (airports or air carriers) to fashion 
each arrangement, consistent with the TSA approved standards for 
Sponsoring Entities' security programs.
    RT participants voluntarily provide information to Sponsoring 
Entities and Service Providers as part of an enhanced identity 
verification business opportunity. RT participants may receive benefits 
such as using designated security lanes or expedited access to security 
screening. These benefits are determined and modified at the discretion 
of the Sponsoring Entities and their Service Providers.

B. Identity Verification Benefits of Registered Traveler

    The name on the individual's boarding pass is the name that is used 
to perform watch list matching. RT can be effective in verifying that 
the passenger who is traveling is actually the person whose name is on 
the boarding pass. RT represents a private-sector alternative by which 
travelers can establish their identities, and biographically and 
biometrically link that identity to their RT cards.
    RT Service Providers perform identity verification as part of the 
RT enrollment process. The verification process at the airport RT lanes 
confirms that the individual who is presenting the RT card is the 
individual who has established his or her identity during the 
enrollment process. Together, the RT enrollment and verification 
processes perform the main security function of the TSA Travel Document 
Checker (TDC) at the screening checkpoint, which is to verify the 
identity of travelers before they enter the sterile area. Thus RT 
participants may bypass the TDC if their RT cards contain the 
appropriate biometric and biographic information.
    New Sponsoring Entities that wish to offer RT services at their 
respective airports will need to demonstrate that their enrollment 
Service Providers adopt a process that adequately establishes a RT 
participant's identity. This process will be similar to the process in 
place for the RTIP. Because identity verification is an important 
component of TSA's layered security approach, airport operators and 
aircraft operators who wish to begin to offer RT service after the 
effective date of this notice must adopt an amendment to their security 
program that satisfies the identity verification requirements and all 
other RT requirements prior to commencing RT operations at their 
respective airports.
    Sponsoring Entities that currently have RT operations under the 
RTIP may continue with their RT operations under their existing 
security program amendments consistent with this notice.

C. Transition Period

    TSA required interoperability as part of the RTIP with the 
understanding that the Service Providers would negotiate with each 
other to establish any fees they would charge each other to implement 
    A twelve-month transition period will be provided following the 
effective date of this notice where Service Providers must accept all 
valid RT cards at all locations, ensuring that RT participants who 
recently joined an RT program will have the interoperability benefits 
for which they enrolled. Thereafter, RT Service Providers must continue 
to be able to technically verify and recognize revocation of each 
other's cards, but they will not be required to guarantee 
interoperability. TSA is leaving it to the private sector (i.e., 
Sponsoring Entities, Service Providers, customers, and other interested 
stakeholders) to determine how to address acceptance, including the 
possibility of transfer fees.

D. Rescission of Registered Traveler Interoperability Pilot Fees

    TSA has determined that the current security threat assessment 
largely duplicates the watch list matching that is conducted on all 
travelers every time they fly. The other parts of the TSA are not core 
elements in passenger security and will no longer be required. Because 
TSA will no longer be conducting security threat assessments on RT 
participants, TSA will no longer collect a security threat assessment 
fee. Additionally, with the conclusion of the RTIP, TSA will no longer 
collect a fee to cover the cost of the RTIP. Thus, the RTIP Participant 
fee of $28 is rescinded as of the effective date of this notice. After 
that date, TSA will no longer conduct security threat assessments on RT 
    Additionally, TSA will no longer collect the Service Provider Key 
Personnel Fee. Service Providers, however, are the Sponsoring Entities' 
contractors. Thus, Service Providers' employees who perform certain 
functions, such as enrollment, must undergo a background check in 
accordance with TSA's existing practices covering airport-sponsored 
vendors, including the collection of fees.
    If a Sponsoring Entity decides to create a separate, dedicated 
screening lane for RT participants or institute a process that requires 
Transportation Security Officer support beyond what TSA is currently 
providing for these passengers, TSA will negotiate the exact level of 
support and the fee necessary to match the costs of this support with 
the Sponsoring Entity. TSA will then charge the Sponsoring Entity the 
fee based upon the cost of providing the additional services and 
    TSA continues to encourage private-sector innovation that can 
expedite the screening process without sacrificing security results--
such as the anticipated development of a ``laptop bag''--and remains 
committed to testing such technologies in both laboratory and live 
settings. However, TSA will endeavor to deploy such proven technologies 
at all

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checkpoints nationwide, not just for premium travelers or those who pay 
additional fees.
    As stated in the notice, Registered Traveler Interoperability Fees, 
71 FR 67899 (Nov. 24, 2006), TSA will not refund any TSA RT fees 
collected prior to the effective date of this notice.

    Issued in Arlington, Virginia, on July 25, 2008.
Gale D. Rossides,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. E8-17493 Filed 7-29-08; 8:45 am]