Digital Version of November/December 2014 Print Edition
CBP opens pedestrian border crossing system in El Paso with support from Unisys
Unisys Corp. is assisting the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency in opening the first pedestrian border crossing in El Paso, TX, that deploys a combination of gate systems, mobile handheld devices and radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to more efficiently identify and process pedestrians crossing the border into the U.S.
Additionally, 10-fingerprint biometric capture devices are included in the gates nearest the inspection booth for future integration into the pedestrian system.
The Pedestrian Reengineering initiative is part of CBP’s Land Border Integration (LBI) project, implemented under a contract awarded to Unisys in 2010. At an event that was to be held on Nov. 10 in El Paso, CBP officials and members of Congress were to demonstrate how the technology works.
The LBI contract followed Unisys work on the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) contract, which was awarded in 2008. WHTI, which was implemented on June 1, 2009, at all land border ports of entry, uses automated license plate reader technology to screen vehicles crossing the border, as well as RFID technology to confirm citizenship and identity of travelers with WHTI-approved, RFID-enabled travel documents.
In a typical scenario using a re-engineered pedestrian lane, travelers crossing the border on foot will approach a gate system and present their WHTI-compliant, RFID-enabled travel documents to electronic document readers. While travelers proceed to the primary inspection area, information identifying the travelers will be relayed to officers who will then determine if they are admissible into the U.S. The system is designed to allow pedestrians to cross the border more quickly, while increasing security for the CBP officers.
The system was operational to the public using three existing pedestrian lanes as of Nov. 8 at the Paso Del Norte port of entry in El Paso.
The U.S. General Services Administration last year recognized CBP and partner agencies for their work on WHTI with the 2010 Interagency Resources Management Conference (IRMCO) Team Award. CBP also recently received a 2010 Excellence.Gov Award from the American Council for Technology/Industry Advisory Council for significant improvements in mission delivery.
“Unisys is proud to support CBP in this very important project to protect the country’s borders and promote homeland security,” said Steve Soroka, managing partner for homeland security at Unisys Federal Systems. “With the Pedestrian Reengineering initiative, CBP can now make border crossing more efficient for foot travelers as well as those in vehicles.”