The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has issued a request for proposals to begin the prototype phase of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program.
This phase is the third step in TSA's development of a uniform identification credential for all transportation workers who require unescorted access to secure areas at seaports, airports, rail, pipeline, trucking, and mass transit facilities.
One of the program's goals is to boost commerce by increasing the speed and efficiency of identity verification at transportation facilities. The program also is intended to save truck drivers, dock-workers, and others who require access to multiple facilities the time and expense of obtaining numerous redundant credentials.
The latest phase of the program will be conducted in Philadelphia PA and Wilmington DE; the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach CA; and the 14 major port facilities in Florida. TSA anticipates that up to 200,000 workers may participate in the prototype.
TSA's request for proposals is open for 30 days. The prototype will examine a range of identity management processes, including the use of smart card technology with biometrics to positively link an individual to his or her credential for unescorted access to secure areas of the transportation system.
According to TSA, the TWIC card will strengthen security at key transportation facilities in these ways:
A threat assessment ensures known terrorists are not issued TWIC cards and cannot gain access to secure areas.
Numerous advanced credentialing technologies safeguard against the use of fraudulent credentials.
Communications technologies tied to the program will allow TSA to interface with other federal, state, and local agencies. These enhancements will allow TSA to send out targeted “threat alerts” to key facilities and shift resources based on intelligence data or changes in the threat level.
TSA began the TWIC program in spring 2002. Phase I, the planning phase, was completed in spring 2003, and Phase II, the technology evaluation phase, closed in October 2003. In Phase II, six card technologies were analyzed by a third party to test their efficiency, effectiveness, and cost. After an in-depth review, the Integrated Circuit Chip (ICC) Smart Card was selected as the most appropriate for the TWIC card.
Other technologies, including a two-dimensional bar code and optical stripe, will also be included in the prototype phase to ensure compatibility with various legacy systems at transportation facilities.
The prototype phase will last about seven months. TSA will then perform a further review and prepare for Phase IV, the nationwide rollout of the TWIC card.