Date of Award

Spring 2011

Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Factors & Systems


Human Factors and Systems

Committee Chair

Dahai Liu, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Shawn Doherty, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Michael O'Toole, Ph.D.


This study utilized discrete event simulation (DES) and queuing networks to investigate the effects of baggage volume and alarm rate at the Security Screening Checkpoint (SSCP) of a small origin and destination airport. A Jackson queuing network was considered for a theoretical assessment to SSCP performance. A DES model using Arena version 12 was utilized for an empirical approach. Data was collected from both literature and by manual collection methods. Manual data was collected during the peak operating time of 6am-7am local time at the airport being modeled. The simulation model was verified and validated qualitatively and quantitatively by statistical testing before experimentation. After validation, a sensitivity analysis was performed on baggage volume of passengers (PAX) and the alarm rate of baggage screening devices, where SSCP throughput and PAX cycle time were the dependent measures. The theoretical queuing network approach proved an accurate method of predicting cycle time, but only under limited steady-state conditions. The empirical model and sensitivity analysis showed that SSCP performance is highly sensitive to alarm rate in both throughput and cycle time. Furthermore, empirical modeling and sensitivity analysis showed that SSCP performance was moderately sensitive to alarm rate, and completely resilient to the effects of baggage volume. Practical implications and future directions were also discussed at the conclusion of the study.