The X-Prize for reducing airport headaches

Clear Registered Traveler Program, which we wrote about in February and September, just announced a $500,000 prize for anyone who can help them reduce time spent waiting in their dedicated security lines by 15 percent. It’s also gotta be cheaper than 25 cents per passenger and win approval by the government.

This isn’t a contest to laugh about. We’ve seen how much of an impact these large-sum cash prizes (popularized by the X-Prize challenge to send a private plane into space) have had on innovation. Plus, it could give a boost to Clear’s reputation. So far, only 65,000 frequent fliers have signed up for their $100 per year program, which speeds up your visit through security checkpoint.

Top priorities for this contest seem to be finding a way to avoid making passengers take off their shoes and taking their laptops out of their bags. There’s also the whole 3 oz fluid thing. Come to think of it, I can rattle off … Well, never mind.