Analyzing the cost of screening selectee and non-selectee baggage

Julie L. Virta, Sheldon H. Jacobson, John E. Kobza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Determining how to effectively operate security devices is as important to overall system performance as developing more sensitive security devices. In light of recent federal mandates for 100% screening of all checked baggage, this research studies the trade-offs between screening only selectee checked baggage and screening both selectee and non-selectee checked baggage for a single baggage screening security device deployed at an airport. This trade-off is represented using a cost model that incorporates the cost of the baggage screening security device, the volume of checked baggage processed through the device, and the outcomes that occur when the device is used. The cost model captures the cost of deploying, maintaining, and operating a single baggage screening security device over a one-year period. The study concludes that as excess baggage screening capacity is used to screen non-selectee checked bags, the expected annual cost increases, the expected annual cost per checked bag screened decreases, and the expected annual cost per expected number of threats detected in the checked bags screened increases. These results indicate that the marginal increase in security per dollar spent is significantly lower when non-selectee checked bags are screened than when only selectee checked bags are screened.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)897-908
Number of pages12
JournalRisk Analysis
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2003


  • Aviation security
  • Cost benefit
  • Economic analysis
  • Risk assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Physiology (medical)


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