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TSA PreCheck® Journey Map: A Case Study


More and more, programs across the federal government are working to improve functions behind important services by using human-centered design and research methods. These methods help people understand their customers and how they are using government services.

Journey mapping is an important tool that can help federal product service teams find more opportunities for service improvement. This tool helps users to better understand the customers' wants and needs, and the challenges they face in using a government service. The ability to empathize with federal customers and understand the thoughts, emotions, and pain points they experience is important for making successful service improvements.  

The Challenge

TSA Customer Service Experts didn’t have a clear overview of the entire PreCheck® airport experience, making it difficult to identify simple improvements. 

The Solution

The DHS CX team recommended building a journey map to show how customer needs, pain points, and interactions with TSA employees combine to create the comprehensive PreCheck® experience. 

  • The project team used the word "passenger" instead of "customer" because it resonates better with the TSA's internal vocabulary.

A draft version of the TSA PreCheck Journey Map demonstrating the customers view points, feelings, and challenges

The Process

  • We held a discovery session with TSA Customer Service Branch employees to identify every step in the TSA PreCheck® passenger journey. In our discovery, we also learned about the specific challenges and restrictions TSA must consider when looking for ways to improve the PreCheck® experience. 
  • Following our first session, we gathered supporting information from TSA, such as passenger wait times and passenger numbers across airports, and data from the TSA Contact Center. 
  • We also used data from a previous passenger experience survey conducted by Deloitte LRA. 
  • Several members of our DHS CX Team added their own first-hand experiences using TSA PreCheck® to the data gathered. 
  • The DHS CX Team used this research data to drive the creation of the journey map, as well as a TSA PreCheck® passenger proto-persona. The proto-persona was developed to give a human element to the passenger experiencing the journey and build a further sense of empathy. 

The Outcome

TSA's Innovation Working Group hosted our initial presentation of the journey map. Each member was able to clearly see how their role fits into the bigger picture of the passenger experience. This broader view helped start discussions about current challenges, areas where TSA PreCheck® employees could work together better, and identify areas for future improvement. 

By demonstrating the power of visualizing a journey in its entirety, it is our goal to inspire other teams throughout DHS to use journey mapping in their future research efforts.  

Share Your Success with DHS

If you'd like to submit a success story from your Component, please contact at cx@hq.dhs.gov

Last Updated: 06/14/2024
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