Governments Look Toward Transportation Solutions Driving Digital Identity - Identity Review | Global Tech Think Tank

From passport verification, do not fly lists, to ticket booking and national licenses, the transportation industry is linked tightly with the evolution of the identity industry. In many nations, it’s the Department of Motor Vehicles that distributes national ID cards. Transportation departments are often the responsible wing of governments responsible for maintaining national security and identifying the citizens of a nation. Identity is at the heart of, immigration, cross border travel, national security, and nowhere does this shine more than transportation.

Transportation, for its part, is antiquated. As more systems move online, the transportation industry has been slow to adapt, due to bureaucratic processes and the high risk challenges of identity and security.

Getting a driver’s license renewed is often viewed as an archaic laborious process that is part of the lingua-franca of modern culture. TSA protocols have long been criticized by frequent flyers. Yet, the transportation industry carries with it great responsibility for citizen and national safety – and cannot be hasty in their approach.

While many governments are looking to deploy transportation solutions on a timeline of a few years, very limited players are available in the market to service these needs. Most mass transportation efforts take over a decade of planning. In the wake of the Coronavirus, governments are looking towards accelerated solutions that fill this void, with major transportation players rolling out touchless, mobile-first forms of identity verification.


Governments are embracing a digital future for the transportation industry. 

Clear: Biometric & Transportation Security

Frequent travelers will recognize the famous blue Clear logo. At 60+ major airport terminals, Clear demonstrates early traction on government contracts in the transportation niche, thanks in part to their business development partnership with Delta airlines.

Clear’s biometric readers can now be found beyond airports, at stadium concession stands and Hertz rental checkouts, and they will soon have a trial run at doctors’ offices.

Clear pitches itself as the company that uses biometrics (iris and fingerprints) to make your wallet obsolete.

“You should not need to carry around a bunch of plastic to prove your identity,” shares President Ken Cornick and Clear Chief Executive Caryn Seidman Becker.

With fast, touchless entry and biometrics that are nearly impossible to fraud, Clear’s terminals introduce the future of biometrics in transportation, and are one of the contending vendors for governments looking to improve their transportation and identity verticals.

Watch more here. 

International Civil Aviation Organization

Millions of people each day use data generated by their bodies. Their voices, faces, irises, and fingerprints help them gain access to offices, secure government sites, and access financial services. Much of these verifications are done informally, but the trend is clear.

The latest biometric data will produce sweeping changes. As digital identities allow us to cross national borders without needing paper passports – documents will no longer be tampered with, forged, lost or simply taken away.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Technical Advisory Group on Traveller Identification Programme (TAG/TRIP) is responsible for the development of specifications for travel documents with the goal of global interoperability. In addition, the TAG/TRIP seeks to advise ICAO on technology issues related to the issuance and use of machine-readable travel documents.

Their latest mission is to solve technology in a few areas.

  • Assessment of applicant eligibility
  • Document security and production
  • Linking documents to holders/bearers
  • Providing reliable authentication of genuine documents
  • Facilitating secure and reliable transit of travelers through airports, seaports and other international border control points

PCCW Limited (Formerly known as Pacific Century CyberWorks Limited)

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport is an early adopter of technology, rolling out the first biometric passport in 2007. The Immigration Department of the Government of Hong Kong under the authorization of the Central People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China has issued one of the most forward-looking passports of the last decade.

The Electronic Passport bears a polycarbonate data page and a contactless chip which stores the holder’s facial image and personal data. Electronic travel document symbol signifying that the passport contains a chip is printed on the dark blue cover.

PCCW Limited is a Hong Kong-based information and communications technology (ICT) company, known for being the majority owner of telecommunications company HKT Limited.

In 2006, the Immigration Department announced that Unihub Limited (a PCCW subsidiary company heading a consortium of suppliers, including Keycorp) won the tender to provide the technology to produce biometric passports. In February 2007, the first biometric passport was introduced. The cover of the new biometric passport remains essentially the same as that of previous versions, with the addition of the “electronic passport” logo at the bottom. However, the design of the inner pages has changed substantially.

For more than a decade, PCCW has paved the path for the transportation industry to adopt biometrics and future passports.

Innovative Travel Solutions: Border XPress

Vancouver International Airport’s Innovative Travel Solutions (ITS) recently launched and completed a successful six-month pilot leveraging the BorderXpress self-service biometric-enabled kiosks at Keflavik International Airport (KEF).

Designed by Innovative Travel Solutions,  these kiosk-based border control solutions are designed to work in partnership with border agencies, airports and seaports around the world to safely and securely manage borders while reducing border wait times and transforming the travel experience.

Each kiosk is fully tailored to each airport’s and immigration authority’ unique needs and regulatory environment. BorderXpress uses biometric-enabled kiosks as part of an efficient two-step process that allows travelers to complete the administrative requirements of border control themselves. The information is sent, fully encrypted with data protection, to a border agency—this allows the traveler’s identity to be verified and admissibility confirmed in real-time. The traveler is then issued a token and directed to a border officer or an e-gate to complete the journey into or out of the country.

Since GDPR and national privacy laws have swept nations across the globe, the solution of no personal information is stored has been appealing. Currently, this initiative is in the pilot stage.


The Next Transportation Disrupter

Looking towards the future, the travel industry is focused on driving new standards for biometric and improved identity verification. Governments are looking beyond just security and into usability, design, speed, efficiency, and privacy. Governments need a robust solution that covers cross border solutions, a mobile-first setup, and puts the needs of the billions of global travelers first.

The Identity Review Consortium is committed to bringing governments the latest offerings from solution providers and beyond. With a space as fast-paced and evolving as transportation, it’s critical to consider established transportation innovators in the RFP process for national pilots.

Get Involved with
Identity Review

Connect with us

Keep up with the digital identity landscape.

Apply to the Consortium

Bringing together key partners, platforms and providers to build the future of identity.

Submit a Press Release

Be a Guest Writer

Want to write as a guest writer for Identity Review? Send us your pitch or article.

Picking an Identity Solution?

Picking an Identity Solution?

Make an informed decision on the right provider from in-depth reviews and feature comparisons.