Border Management Solutions: Life, and Travel, in the Fast Lane

How border management agencies can use registered traveler programs to accelerate passenger processing, increase satisfaction and enhance security.


As evidenced in Europe alone, there is a growing demand for fast and efficient travel. Recent European Member States’ data shows there were 700 million external border crossings in 2011, while the rise in travelers entering and exiting through the European Union’s air borders is projected to increase by 80 percent, from 400 million in 2009 to 720 million by 2030. Border agencies are challenged with maintaining security with limited human capital, physical space, and financing in addition to coping with these growing traveler numbers.

Now, as the European Union introduces proposals for a formalized registered traveler program as part of a “smart borders” initiative, border agencies have a unique opportunity to not only enrich the experience of the vast majority of the traveling public and simplify life for the frequent flyer, but also to focus security efforts solely on the small minority of travelers who may pose a risk. In this way, if the tangible benefits of registered traveler programs are widely known and the program itself is straightforward to join and use, traveler processing can be further automated—without negatively impacting security and while managing budgetary constraints.

Hear from speakers at the smart borders conference including Mark Crego, Global Border and Identity Lead, providing their views on the Registered Traveler Program and how this can support smarter and more secure borders in Europe.


There are many examples of successful programs that automate identification and introduce virtual borders. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s US-VISIT program, for instance, is the world’s second largest biometric database and can perform searches across 140 million unique identities in seconds, has increased the number of daily transactions from 75,000 to 400,000 and identifies 5,000 illegal visitors a day. Such unique identity services can have an even greater impact when complemented by expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers, such as the United States Customs and Border Protection’s Global Entry program. The effects can be most dramatic among the repeat traveler populace. In our experience, more than 80 percent of visa-waiver travelers tend to be repeat travelers each year. Bearing in mind the projected 17 percent increase in new unique identities in the next six years, taking these repeat travelers out of the security process through a registered traveler program could save a considerable number of hours—and cost—on regular verifications for border agencies.

In addition to faster passenger processing and tighter border controls, there are strong economic reasons for promoting registered traveler programs. However, there are challenges; registered traveler programs are only as successful as the numbers who register for them and take up can be slow; issues such as concerns about privacy and data security or lack of confidence in the process at the border can affect the general public’s willingness to participate.


Digitization, or in other words, the use of automated technology, is helping to accelerate the flow and reliability of information that is the core of border verification processes. Collaborative relationships with commercial data providers could help to aggregate and transform credit, demographic, criminal, marketing and industry-specific data to drive analysis for risk assessments. Valuable traveler demographic details may be captured at this time—from trusted sources such as Passenger Name Records and Advanced Passenger Information, as well as less traditional sources such as social media—to enhance records with essential details around individual travelers’ behaviors and preferences.

Although privacy constraints and the need for governance measures must be recognized, creative solutions should be sought and patience is key—border agencies focusing on these traveling “customers” must accept that commercial viability needs time and persuasion. To understand the needs of the traveling public, an initial step for border agencies involves accurate targeting to successfully identify, attract, and retain the customers they serve. Simplicity should be encouraged, with user friendly, practical guidance on the enrollment process and a clear explanation about eligibility. Ongoing education is a crucial aspect to communicate the value to any infrequent travelers, seasonal travelers, and traveling populations outside of the primary demographic; it can also be used as a means to increase public trust and address privacy concerns. Above all, travelers are more inclined to opt in when the benefits of registered traveler programs are clearly stated and understood.


Accenture believes that by incorporating customer relationship management approaches in their registered traveler program efforts, border agencies can achieve the tipping point that improves the traveler experience and realizes tangible border efficiencies.

Specific steps toward successful registered traveler programs include:

  • Create an engagement model to define target market segments, engagement tactics and enrollment drivers.

  • Use marketing programs to educate and stimulate interest with user-friendly guidance on eligibility.

  • When travelers apply for the registered traveler program via the Web, kiosk or mobile services hosted through the cloud, basic demographic and traveler information can be captured, such as data of birth and employer, as well as voice or signature.

  • A fee typically secures registration and an in-person interview/biometric enrollment completes the application process.

  • Use background checks or other screening methods to determine existence of derogatory information that may pose a risk or may be grounds for removal from the program.

  • Share data among participating entities according to relevant policies.

The accelerated process means registered travelers can enjoy an enhanced travel experience and border agencies can focus on unknown travelers.