Optimal allocation of aviation security screening devices

Edward C. Sewell, Adrian J. Lee, Sheldon Howard Jacobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent advances in aviation security screening technologies have presented a new challenge in optimally allocating these devices across a set of airports. Following check-in at the ticket counter, self-service kiosk, or airline website application, each passenger is assigned to a security screening class through an automated passenger prescreening system based on their measured perceived risk level. The class to which a passenger is assigned can be used to determine how this passenger's baggage will be screened by a set of security devices and procedures. In this paper, an explosive screening device allocation model is formulated as a nonlinear integer program to assign both the type of and number of devices to each class at each airport such that the total security is maximized, given a set of budget, resource, and passenger throughput constraints. A Dantzig-Wolfe decomposition approach is used to transform the nonlinear program into a binary integer program by redefining the binding constraint associated with the number of individual devices allocated across all airports. Computational results are provided for several randomly generated problems to demonstrate that the resulting binary integer program can be quickly solved to optimality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-116
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Transportation Security
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • Aviation security
  • Dantzig-Wolfe decomposition
  • Nonlinear integer program
  • Reliability problem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transportation
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Optimal allocation of aviation security screening devices'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this