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InformationWeek Distinguishes CBP as Top Government IT Innovator

Release Date: 
September 18, 2012

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) was honored last Tuesday at InformationWeek magazine's 4th annual Government IT Innovators awards ceremony in California for leading the charge for safer, more secure pedestrian processing.

In 2009, more than 42 million travelers entered the United States as a pedestrian. Nearly 90 percent of pedestrians crossed at one of the 12 busiest ports, where wait times can be lengthy at peak times.

Building on the success of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which increased operational effectiveness and efficiency in vehicle processing, CBP realized that pedestrian processing was a prime candidate for re-engineering. "We realize that we need to do more with less," said Colleen Manaher, director of CBP's Land Border Integration Program Management Office. "However, to the team, doing more with innovation was the bigger opportunity."

Members from the CBP Land Border Integration team as well as the OIT deputy assistant commissioner accepted the award for the successful implementation of a pedestrian reengineering solution with the goal of enhancing security while expediting the passenger process.

A pedestrian entering the U.S. at Paso Del Norte uses the new automated gate to scan her travel document and fingerprints before approaching the CBP officer.

A pedestrian entering the U.S. at Paso Del Norte uses the new automated gate to scan her travel document and fingerprints before approaching the CBP officer.

This solution provides the traveler's information to officers and port management prior to the pedestrian arriving at the inspection booth, and puts pedestrian "wait" time to productive, time-saving use.

In 2011, CBP implemented the Pedestrian Reengineering Solution Pilot at one of the busiest pedestrian crossings, the port of Paso Del Norte in El Paso, Texas.

Each reengineered lane has two interactive gate systems that are positioned at the entrance of the facility (pre-primary) and just before the primary inspection booth (primary).

The gate systems have interactive screens displaying instructions in English and Spanish, plus document readers for radio frequency identification and machine readable zone technology. The primary gates are additionally equipped with fingerprint scanners. Pedestrians seeking entry into the U.S. from Mexico scan their document at both gates prior to reaching the inspection booth, pre-positioning traveler data so the officer knows who is approaching and can focus on the traveler once he or she reaches the inspection booth.

Additionally, CBP officers began using the MC75A mobile document reader, a handheld device that enables officers to query travelers anywhere in the pedestrian facility before the traveler reaches the inspection booth. El Paso is currently the only pedestrian location where the mobile document reader is deployed.

Nearly a year since implementation of this system, processing times have decreased 34% at the port of Paso Del Norte.

CBP is featured along with the other government innovators in InformationWeek magazine.

Last modified: 
February 8, 2017