What is the Power of the Passengers Challenge?

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) seeks new approaches/technology or innovations from other industries. The TSA wants to use these solutions to improve security effectiveness, operational efficiency, and/or passenger experience. Responses that can positively impact all three areas are of greatest interest to the TSA.

What sort of data streams does the TSA have?

The TSA has a multitude of data streams associated with their logistical, transportation, and security operations. These streams include, but are not limited to:

  • Passenger counts:
    • per airport
    • per terminal
    • per checkpoint
  • Passenger wait times
    • per airport
    • per terminal
    • per checkpoint
  • Number of flights per day:
    • domestic: arrivals and departures
    • international: arrivals and departures
  • Security screening assessments:
    • airline passengers
    • cruise ship passengers
    • baggage
    • cargo
    • fixed asset
  • Railway inspection information and statistics
  • Security credentialing results for:
    • airport staff
    • maritime facility staff
    • rail yard staff
  • Security Technology Equipment Data
    • images
    • operational metrics

Why is the TSA running this challenge?

The TSA, as part of its vision to be an engaged and agile security agency, wants to leverage the collective experiences, knowledge, and creativity of the global community. Using this challenge to establish new relationships with outside individuals and organizations, the TSA can continue to counter constantly evolving security concerns while also streamlining the process for users and security professionals.

What sort of innovations is the TSA interested in?

The Transportation Security Administration seeks all approaches and technologies that meaningfully improve the effectiveness and efficiency of its operations, while also making travel a more positive experience for passengers. If you have a great idea or technology that can improve operations, the TSA is interested in hearing from you!

Your idea could be:

  • New ways for passengers to interact with the agency,
  • Better ways to manage passenger or baggage flow through terminals and checkpoints,
  • Innovative data analytics for new insights into traffic patterns or security alerts,

…and that’s just a few ideas. Remember, the TSA wants to know how they can serve the public more effectively.

This challenge is just the latest effort by the TSA to include new ideas and technologies. Previous innovations include the deployment of TSA pre-check and new imaging security scanners. The TSA also actively investigates new technologies in the field at various airports across the country.

What is the timeline for this challenge?

  • Tuesday, December 8, 2020: Challenge Launch
  • Thursday, February 4, 2021 by 8 PM ET: Submission Deadline
  • February 5 – 25, 2021: Evaluation
  • Monday, March 1, 2021: Notification of Winners
  • Monday, March 8, 2021: Public Announcement of Winners

What awards are available for this challenge?

The total prize pool for the Power of Passengers Challenge is $215,000 broken down in this way:

One grand prize for the proposal that has the greatest simultaneous impact on all three areas of interest (security effectiveness, operational efficiency, and passenger experience): $30,000

Each of the three areas of interest can award up to three prizes:

  • One first place prize per area of interest: $25,000
  • One second place prize per area of interest: $20,000
  • One third place prize per area of interest: $15,000

The TSA may also award one special $5,000 prize to the response deemed most creative.

Are multiple submissions permitted?

Yes, as long as the submitter meets the eligibility requirements of the challenge, multiple submissions are acceptable and will be considered by the judging panel. Additionally, each submission will be eligible to win awards.

Are there any non-monetary awards available?

The TSA seeks to implement promising new technologies and approaches that can contribute to the effectiveness, efficiency and overall experience of the transportation process. To that end, the TSA may select proposals for post-challenge collaboration with a goal of full-scale implementation. The TSA will work with the submitter to determine the most appropriate mechanism to assist the submitter with that goal.

The TSA may consider other non-monetary recognition for respondents such as:

  • Establishment of a vendor relationship
    • If the proposed technology is commercially available, the TSA may seek to establish a vendor relationship with the submitter.
  • Supporting with mentorship
    • The TSA could assist respondents by establishing mentorship to aid in the refinement/advancement of proposed approaches.
  • Connections to tech accelerators or other innovation development programs
  • Connections to existing developers and/or manufacturers
    • Assistance with advancement/finalization of proposed technology
  • Invitations to the TSA conferences and/or lectures
    • Opportunities to speak with broader security audiences

The TSA may select respondents for post-challenge collaboration. The agency will work with the respondent to identify the most appropriate collaboration mechanism.

Where can I find additional information about the Transportation Security Administration?

Interested respondents might find useful information online at these sites:

Who can participate in this challenge?

The TSA is interested in responses from innovators, organizations, and the public. The Power of the Passenger Challenge is open to all citizens of the United States of America over the age of eighteen (18).

Response from teams are also welcome for this challenge provided that:

  • The individual submitting the response is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
  • Responses from teams are also welcome for this Challenge, provided that the designated primary contact for the team submits the response and is a citizen of the United States.

Responses from ineligible submitters will not be reviewed by the TSA judging panel.

Do you have a weighting criteria for the review, like, are you primarily focusing on the written responses or on the two minute video?

The weighting criteria for response components can be found here.

Is there a page limit for the optional supporting document? 

There is no specific page limit for the supporting document however there is a maximum file size: 33 Mb. If you have multiple documents you would like to include, please create a single file that includes all of the documents you wish to submit.

Do you require a cost estimate with the response? 

The TSA understands that it may not be possible to provide a cost estimate at this stage and, as such, one is not required. Conversely, if you are able to speak to potential costs and/or cost advantages, that could be information that you choose to include in your response.

Are we allowed to include a product demo as part of the two minute video? 

The two-minute pitch video, much like the written portion of the submission, is open to your creativity. You are welcome to craft your video as you see fit. Here’s a short guide that might be helpful as you work on your response.