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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

TSA issues RFP for I.D. card prototype


Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently issued a request for proposals to begin the prototype phase of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program.

The prototype is the third step in TSA’s plan to develop a uniform identification credential for all transportation workers with unescorted access to secure areas at mass transit, rail, seaport, airport, pipeline and trucking facilities.

The chosen firm will examine identity management processes, including the use of smart-card technology with biometrics to link an individual to their credentials for unescorted access to secure transportation system areas. Up to 200,000 workers are expected to participate in the prototype, which will be conducted in Philadelphia, Wilmington, Del., the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., and 14 port facilities in Florida.

"The TWIC card is a key piece in TSA’s efforts to secure all modes of the nation’s transportation network," said David Stone, TSA’s acting administrator, in a prepared statement. "This technology will not only improve security by keeping known terrorists away from vulnerable areas, but it also enhances the flow of commerce and protects individual privacy."

Under the program, TSA will conduct threat assessments to ensure known terrorists aren’t issued TWIC cards, use advanced credential technologies to safeguard against fraudulent credentials, and use communications technologies enabling TSA to interface with other federal, state and local agencies to send out targeted "threat alerts" to key facilities. The program also is expected to increase the speed and efficiency of identification verification at transportation facilities.

TSA began the planning phase for the TWIC program in 2002 and completed the technology evaluation phase late last year. The prototype phase will last about seven months, after which TSA will prepare for a nationwide rollout of the TWIC card.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/21/2004