Modelling and Analysing the Cargo Screening Process

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: School of Computer Science


Current cargo screening systems are sub-optimal because they are based on historic layouts, for instance luggage will go through fixed tiered systems: First all luggage will go through detector A, if it fails to pass, then it will go through detector B and if it fails again through detector C. Moreover, we do not understand the performance of current systems as no baseline performance data is available, i.e. it is unclear whether current systems perform better than random or not. Thus even if an improvement was proposed, it would be difficult to measure its impact if any.We are proposing to design a plug and play software tool (cargo screening system simulator) that will map the right technology to the right commodity / threat combination and thus* Identify gaps in a current sensor system set-up / what new technology do we need?* Allow for proper evaluation of new sensor technology / is it value for money?* Optimise given resources / get highest throughput / detection for fixed resources.Additionally, as the project is interested in the whole system and allows for the evaluation of new technologies, it is an enabling project for all other sandpit projects. We will be able to evaluate new sensor technologies proposed in specific scenarios to establish practical cost / benefits. To achieve this, we propose to run a follow on network alongside the project.
Description When planning to change operations at ports there are two key stake holders with very different interests

involved in the decision making processes. Port operators are attentive to their standards, a smooth

service flow and economic viability while border agencies are concerned about national security. The

time taken for security checks often interferes with the compliance to service standards that port operators

would like to achieve.

Decision support tools as for example Cost-Benefit Analysis or Multi Criteria Analysis are useful helpers to

better understand the impact of changes to a system. They allow investigating future scenarios and helping to find solutions that are acceptable for all parties involved in port operations.

In this project we evaluate two different modelling methods, namely scenario analysis and discrete event

simulation. These are useful for driving the decision support tools (i.e. they provide the inputs the decision

support tools require). Our aims are, on the one hand, to guide through the modelling processes and, on the other hand, to demonstrate what kind of decision support information one can obtain from the different modelling methods presented.

We developed models and simulations for the ports of Dover and for the ports of Calais and show how they can be used to answer different what-if type questions, such as the impacts of additinal lanes or searches on the throughput rate and service levels.
Exploitation Route We are working with the RCUK academic champion for the area (Tristram)
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Security and Diplomacy,Transport

Description a 3d simulation of calais port was built. this also led to simulation work with the port of dover. there are ongoing discussions on how to take this further.
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Security and Diplomacy,Transport