A sequential stochastic security system design problem for aviation security

Alexander G. Nikolaev, Sheldon H. Jacobson, Laura A. Mclay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Passenger screening is a critical component of aviation security systems. This paper introduces the sequential stochastic security design problem (SSSDP), which models passenger and carry-on baggage-screening operations in an aviation security system. SSSDP is formulated as a two-stage model, where in the first stage security devices are purchased subject to budget and space constraints, and in the second stage a policy determines how passengers that arrive at a security station are screened. Passengers are assumed to check in sequentially, with passenger risk levels determined by a prescreening system. The objective of SSSDP is to maximize the total security of all passenger-screening decisions over a fixed time period, given passenger risk levels and security device parameters. SSSDP is transformed into a deterministic integer program, and an optimal policy for screening passengers is obtained. Examples are provided to illustrate these results, using data extracted from the Official Airline Guide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-194
Number of pages13
JournalTransportation Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2007


  • Aviation security
  • Homeland security
  • Risk analysis
  • Threat detection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation


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