Transportation plays an important role in enabling trade between people, which is essential for the development of civilization. It consists of movements on roads, airways, railways and waterways. However, these transportation activities’ safety is being threatened by different dangers such as terrorist. There have been many attacks on airplanes, train, or at the airports and train stations recently which led to a big number of deaths. Hence, authorities are looking at biometrics as a method to ensure better protection for travelers and transported goods.
Biometrics can be deployed in various applications including identity confirmation, physical access and ticketing system at the airport, seaport, train stations, bus terminals and border crossing. The system will act as a sophisticated security layer to identify individuals including passengers, employees and crews before boarding or entering specific areas. In fact, biometric modalities such as iris recognition, fingerprint scan and facial recognition have made inroads into air transport, especially international airport. Acuity Market Intelligence Principal Maxine Most said in a recent report on eGate that “As the Trump administration doubles down on immigration restrictions and promises of ‘extreme vetting,’ the reality is that biometrics is used to scrutinize millions of international travelers across the globe every day.” It is also recorded that more than 80 countries now have e-passport programs using biometric identification systems for citizen and traveler. Not only “front end” of the air travel sector – passengers, baggage, airport employees and crew but “back end” of the global transportation infrastructure which includes cargo, shipping, logistics and warehousing are being paid attention as well. In fact, biometrics has been used to secure access of commercial truckers at Rotterdam seaport and Canadian national rail to improve traffic flow through intermodal facilities, reduces theft and fraud, creates an audit trail for all transactions throughout the facility and improves operational efficiencies.
On the other hand, the adoption of biometric in local commuting systems has been slower. The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), the biggest municipal transit agency in North Texas, recently became one of the early adopters, having decided to set up facial recognition on cameras in its trains. It is expected to keep track of train capacity and allow the police to know if a wanted person is on board. However, security is just one benefit that transport authorities are looking at when opting for biometric solutions. At the early of 2016, facial recognition technology was implemented in Beijing Train Station ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays to improve the process of ticketing and passenger management efficiency. In India, train stations in certain cities are planning to make use of biometric data to curb the menace of touts. Or recently, the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) has stated in its digital blueprint for Britain’s railways that biometrics could be used to purchase ticket for the UK’s trains in the future to enhance customer experience.
The benefits of biometrics in transportation system are clear. It offers the best possible solutions for safer travel while streamlining the passenger process. These benefits are expected to drive the adoption of biometrics in public transport sector in the coming time. According to research company Acuity, there were over 1400 Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks in 2016 and that growth will once again pick up steam over the next couple of years as the technology expands in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.