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Study looks at long passport inspection times

11 March 2014

The National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE) TODAY released a study that analyzes the impact of passport inspection times on airline passenger volume at four major US international airports. The key results of the study reflect the economic impacts of adding additional CBP (US Customs and Border Protection) – Office of Field Operations (OFO) officers.

The study finds that, on net, adding 11 officers to the inspection sites at the four airports is likely to result in an USD11.8m increase in GDP and 81 additional jobs in an upper-bound case. Adding sufficient officers to achieve a 50 percent reduction in wait time is likely to result in a USD95.4m increase in GDP and 539 additional jobs in an upper-bound case. Study results also include the value of wait time saved to existing passengers, with an upper-bound of USD9m for adding the 11 officers. According to CREATE economist Adam Rose, “Alleviating traveler bottlenecks at US airports is a sound investment.”

This study extends the research of “The Impact on the US Economy of Changes in Wait Times At Ports of Entry” completed on March 31, 2013 by a CREATE research team on the economic impacts of wait times at US ports of entry (see Roberts, et al. 2013). That study concluded that adding 33 CBP officers (one at each of the selected 33 land and airport locations studied) will potentially lead to an increase in GDP of USD61.8m and employment gains of 1,053 jobs in the US.

This new study extends the earlier project in several ways. It evaluates how change in passport inspection wait time at US international airports impacts the number of passengers traveling by air to and from the US It also evaluates trends in the volume of international air travelers arriving at US airports and implications for CBP-OFO resources, the impact of passport inspection wait time on missed flight connections at international airports, and CBP-OFO management of existing passport inspection resources.

According to lead author Bryan Roberts, “Study results suggest that CBP-OFO generally manages its available inspection resources well in response to changing conditions at US airports, and that wait time outcomes are driven primarily by overall availability of resources and factors outside of CBP-OFO´s control.”

Established in 2004, CREATE is a US Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence funded by Science & Technology directorate, Office of University Programs, and based at the University of Southern California in the Sol Price School of Public Policy and the Viterbi School of Engineering.


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