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BOrdDErGuArd - Proactive Enhancement of Human Performance in Border Control

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A human impact approach to smarter border control

The EU-funded project BODEGA studied related human factors and produced recommendations to improve crucial aspects of border control, guaranteeing overall the respect of fundamental human rights and equality.


The use of automated border control is forecasted to grow (just as border crossings in general) a lot – and is slated to have direct human impact. BODEGA focused on changes to traveller processes and the work of border control professionals resulting from the introduction of smarter border control systems. Project coordinator Veikko Ikonen offers a concise overview: “We explicitly make recommendations for methods and specific human factors that will help in the design and development of technologies and systems to support security at the border and at the same time enhance the speed and fair treatment of travellers.” Human factors across the board Project outcomes facilitate the wider engagement of stakeholders and increase the level of information available to them. “Recommendations for design and implementation of various solutions and services are the main project outcome,” Ikonen reports. The initiative’s aim is for the PROPER Toolbox platform to present the information and results in a consolidated format. This online environment provides solutions for improving EU border management from a human factors point of view. However, “it is in restricted mode as most of the information can be partly sensitive and only targeted for border guard authorities,” Ikonen explains. Stakeholders can appropriate and use the resources in their operational context to support development of more user-friendly equipment and improvements in working conditions of border control staff. The platform can also be used for next-generation border guard training and to educate travellers on border crossing procedures. New business opportunities Gamification featured heavily in design activities of applications. One example of the methodology used in developing project resources is “strong activity analysis or co-creation aspects with travellers,” Ikonen notes. Further, “BODEGA placed strong emphasis on RRI – responsible research and innovation – including ethical design approach.” Project outcomes also pave the way for commercial exploitation of research results. Specifically, related business opportunities include algorithms and software to evaluate document readers, user interfaces for mobile devices for border control and facial recognition systems. Other opportunities available through the platform include the PASS and BodeGame solutions. In the first, a hybrid card game, different digital stories are played out to increase the knowledge level of travellers related to border crossing. The second has to do with the application of serious gaming to border guard training. BODEGA has produced a demonstration video offering a brief overview of this simulation-type game focusing on interaction with technical systems, document verification and social interaction. Cross-border collaboration Initiated in the framework of the BODEGA project, the ESBF LinkedIn group, with over 150 members from the European border control and border management community, is helping to raise awareness on project activities and developments. Other project outreach activities included project showcases and presentations at international conferences, exhibitions and industry roundtables throughout Europe. Project results have further been disseminated through conference papers and other academic publications and contributed input for the preparation of two master’s theses. Follow-up projects can apply project outcomes in their work, especially when focusing on human factors and ethical dimensions in the design of systems supporting border management. “More generally,” concludes Ikonen, “BODEGA results can be utilised very widely in relation to border control and security studies.”


BODEGA, border control, human factors, travellers, security, border management, border guard, border guard training, human impact, BodeGame, serious gaming

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