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Posted: 1:14 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31, 2012

Airport security wait times now available online

A busy airport tries artificial intelligence to take the guesswork out of travel



By Clark Howard


Dulles International Airport is now publishing security checkpoint wait times online.

I travel all the time and have a positive attitude about it. I even love airports! But the one thing I don't love is the unknown of how long it's going to take me to get through security at any given airport.

Will it be 3 minutes, 20 minutes, or an hour and 15 minutes?

That unpredictability is a hassle factor for travel that is just so ridiculous. With today's technology, there's no reason it should ever be that much of an unknown.

Dulles Airport is now the first in the country to use an artificial intelligence system that employs video analytics to figure out how many people are in the lines and how fast they're moving. Then they automatically update wait times online in real time.

I hope this rolls out to every major airport in the country!

I remember being at LAX last month. I was stunned to see the security lines when I flew in. They were upstairs, downstairs, and pouring out on sidewalk. I thought to myself, "I want to prepare for that tomorrow when I have to fly out."

But then the next day came and it took me 5 minutes to go through security. Who would have known? This new technology makes it possible for me and you to know.