U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) administers multiple Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP)—Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, and FAST—that make it easier for previously vetted travelers to enter the United States. To become a Trusted Traveler, users must complete an online application, schedule an appointment, and then visit an enrollment center for an interview, photograph, and biometrics check. The previous Global Online Enrollment System (GOES) web application was antiquated, limiting, and provided a poor user experience for the 6 million people it was serving.
The Solution / First Update
On October 1, 2017, the DHS Digital Service team in partnership with CBP launched the redesigned online Trusted Traveler Programs application. The TTP site needed to be redesigned because poor and outdated design made it difficult to find information and resulted in users paying third-party sites to complete the TTP process. When originally tackling the project, the redesign of just the frontend of the application was proposed to take 18 months. By using agile development processes to speed up the development and minimize risk, CBP and USDS worked together to completely redesign the frontend, deliver a scalable, modernized backend, and move the application to the cloud in nine months—half the time of the original estimate.
This new application was CBP’s first system to move to the cloud, and has resulted in lower costs while increasing scalability and reliability. CBP has already reaped the benefits of the system that was built to take advantage of the redundancy, auto-scaling, and flexibility of the cloud. In the month after its release over 50 changes were made to enhance the system without any downtime to the service. The new application is also one of the first systems at DHS to utilize login.gov to provide a seamless and secure authentication system for the application. The new site is also streamlined and more user friendly, enabling users to better understand TTP application requirements and process. In the first month, citizens created more than 500,000 accounts and submitted more than 100,000 applications for trusted traveler benefits.
The DHS Digital Service also worked with CBP and the Transportation Security Administration to build out a Trusted Traveler Programs comparison tool. Users were struggling to determine the best program for their needs across the various DHS offerings. Based on travel information provided by the end user, the tool suggests the best program based on cost and estimated approval times and provides a link to access the program’s application.