The government of Canada has announced it will collaborate with the World Economic Forum and partners to test emerging digital technologies and their application to travel.

Following the launch of a Known Traveller Digital Identity prototype, Canada says it will design a ‘proof of concept’ pilot project between two countries to test the potential of biometrics and distributed ledger technology in facilitating secure and seamless air travel.

International air arrivals to Canada are expected to reach 1.8 billion by 2030 – there were 1.2 billion in 2016. According to a report by the World Economic Forum and Accenture, to accommodate this growth the public and private sectors will need to address infrastructure, human resource and procedural constraints while maintaining national and international security standards.

The Known Traveller concept is based on the principle that individuals have control over the use of their identity and its components. Travellers can then choose to ‘push’ their information to governmental and private sector entities throughout their journey via secure distributed ledger technology.

John Moavenzadeh, head of the Mobility System Initiative at the World Economic Forum, explained: “With travellers providing access to verified personal biometric, biographic and historical travel data at their discretion, they can assist authorities to undertake risk assessments and pre-screening in advance, essentially verifying their identities and providing secure and seamless movement throughout their journey using biometric recognition technology. Not only does this provide for greater personalisation and passenger-centricity in the design of services, but the passenger becomes a general actor in ensuring public safety.”

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