The TSA's PreCheck program is doing a decent job of moving travelers along at many airports. But as more frequent flyers sign up to take advantage of expedited security screenings, officials are working to head off potential traffic jams at busy terminals. They've quickly come to realize that some airports are ill prepared to handle the diverging traffic that PreCheck has created. 400,000 applicants have been cleared to join the program since December, Fast Company reports, and that's not even counting the regular travelers that are sometimes waved through PreCheck to keep things moving swiftly. The TSA knows it needs to come up with something better.
But rather than working internally to create a new system capable of handling the separate queues, the agency is looking outside for help. It's launched a new InnoCentive challenge in hopes that someone out there has the answer. "TSA conducts queue assessments and has established the algorithms that need to be met for a successful queue design," a spokesperson told Fast Company. "The InnoCentive Challenge calls for a modeling program to help facilitate this process, which TSA does not have." That's basically the TSA admitting it needs help with the problem, while also making clear that crowd-sourced ideas must meet certain criteria for consideration.
Whoever comes up with a successful "next generation" queue redesign could take home a $15,000 award. More than one winner may be chosen, and in that case the TSA says no one will walk away with under $2,500. TSA employees are barred from participating, so if you're an airport security guard who's spent months working out the perfect way of doing things, maybe it'd be best to have a friend submit your hard work instead.