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Peer Exchange Summary Report

March 2015

Table of Contents


Terminology

Table 1: Key terms and other terms

Key Terms Definition
Crossing time Refers to the total time required to traverse all segments of a border crossing (the sum of all individual segments).
Agency wait time Refers to the time required to traverse a segment of a crossing under the jurisdiction of a particular agency, such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Actual wait time or crossing time The wait/crossing time experienced by a specific vehicle, measured and recorded after the vehicle completes the crossing or segment. This is a measured value rather than a prediction.
Expected wait time or crossing time An estimate of the wait/crossing time that will be experienced by approaching vehicles at the back of the queue. This is a prediction which may be based on service rates, the length of the queue, or other factors.
Current wait time or crossing time This is the same as “expected” wait time as described above.
Predicted wait time or crossing time The estimate of the wait/crossing time that is predicted for a crossing hours or days in the future based on historical data or trends.
Other Terms Definition
Bluetooth A wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances from fixed and mobile devices.
Cloud Cloud computing involves the use of remote servers and software networks that allow centralized data storage and online access to computer services or resources.
Crowd sourcing The process of obtaining needed services or information by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community.
FAST Free and Secure Trade Program, a commercial clearance program for known low-risk shipments entering the U.S. from Canada and Mexico. This allows expedited processing for commercial carriers who have completed background checks and fulfill certain eligibility requirements.
GPS Global positioning system, a space-based satellite navigation system that provides location and time information for equipped devices.
Intelligent transportation systems The application of advanced information and communications technology to surface transportation in order to achieve enhanced safety and mobility while reducing the environmental impact of transportation.
Inductive circuit detector An insulated, electrically conducting loop installed in the pavement. When a vehicle (or any large metal object) passes over the loop the reader detects its presence based on a decrease in inductance.
Loop detector See “inductive circuit detector,” above.
Maquiladora In Mexico, a maquiladora is a manufacturing operation in a free trade zone where factories import material and equipment on a duty-free and tariff-free basis for assembly, processing, or manufacturing and then export the resulting products; often back to the raw materials' country of origin.
NEXUS U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Canada Border Services Agency jointly cooperate in this program to simplify passage for pre-approved travelers. The NEXUS program allows pre-screened travelers expedited processing by United States (U.S.) and Canadian officials at dedicated processing lanes at designated northern border ports of entry.1
Port of entry A location through which people and goods may enter a country.
Probe A traveling vehicle equipped with sensors is called a “probe car,” and the data collected by those sensors are called “probe data.”
Ready lane A lane specifically designated for travelers with RFID-enabled documentation. This includes NEXUS cards as well as enhanced drivers licenses and other such forms of identification.
RFID Radio frequency identification, the wireless use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data for the purposes of automatically identifying and tracking tags (e.g. transponders) attached to objects (e.g. vehicles).
Service rate Number of traveling vehicles processed per unit time.
Variable message sign An electronic sign often used on roadways to provide and update information for travelers.
WiFi A local area wireless technology that allows an electronic device to participate in computer networking.

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Executive Summary

This report summarizes a tri-national peer exchange in Phoenix, Arizona on December 9-10, 2014. Representatives from organizations in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. convened to discuss ”border wait time,” the time that a traveler must wait in order to cross an international border from one country to another. The purpose of this exchange was to help Federal agencies, State and Provincial departments of transportation, local planning organizations, bridge authorities, and other organizations understand approaches and tools for collecting and using data on border wait time to improve outcomes and achieve performance goals and targets.

Most of the discussion focused on automated systems to collect and disseminate information on border wait time. Such systems can provide key benefits, such as the following:

Data from automated systems are useful for a variety of stakeholders. Public agencies can use the data to measure performance and prioritize actions and improvements. Private companies can use the data to plan operations and ensure supply chain reliability. Individuals can use the data to inform and adjust travel plans, which can reduce wait times and improve the overall efficiency of the border transportation system.

During the meeting, participants learned from one another through interactive presentations and discussions. Topics included the following:

Throughout the exchange participants identified lessons learned that can help to inform future efforts. At the conclusion of the exchange participants identified key needs and next steps for research and voted on their respective importance. The top needs included the following:

  1. Accurate, reliable, and complete data on border wait time, including origin and destination data;
  2. Common set of metrics, definitions, techniques, and performance measures;
  3. Holistic approaches to managing and reducing border wait time;
  4. Best practices for disseminating data to the public;
  5. Coordination and partnerships; and,
  6. Agency commitments to use border wait time data to inform decision-making and direct policy.

The information from this exchange will help stakeholders prioritize next steps to advance border wait time tools, technology, and information sharing. At upcoming meetings the U.S. - Mexico Joint Working Committee on Transportation Planning and the Canada - U.S. Transportation Border Working Group will identify and pursue joint action items to address these areas.

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Background and Purpose

This report summarizes a tri-national peer exchange in Phoenix, Arizona on December 9-10, 2014. Representatives from organizations in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. convened to discuss “border wait time,” the time that a traveler must wait in order to cross an international border from one country to another. The purpose of this exchange was to help Federal agencies, State and Provincial departments of transportation, local planning organizations, bridge authorities, and other organizations understand approaches and tools for collecting and using data on border wait time to improve outcomes and achieve performance goals and targets.

Most of the discussion focused on automated systems to collect and disseminate information on border wait time. Such systems can provide key benefits, such as the following:

Data from automated systems are useful for a variety of stakeholders. Public agencies can use the data to measure performance and prioritize actions and improvements. Private companies can use the data to plan operations and ensure supply chain reliability. Individuals can use the data to inform and adjust travel plans, which can reduce wait times and improve the overall efficiency of the border transportation system.

During the meeting, participants learned from one another through interactive presentations and discussions. Topics included the following:

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Lessons Learned

Participants identified a number of lessons and recommendations to inform future and ongoing efforts to develop automated border wait time systems, as follows:

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Next Steps

At the conclusion of the exchange participants identified key needs and next steps for research and voted on their respective importance. The top needs included the following:

  1. Accurate, reliable, and complete data on border wait time, including origin and destination data;
  2. Common set of metrics, definitions, techniques, and performance measures;
  3. Holistic approaches to managing and reducing border wait time;
  4. Best practices for disseminating data to the public;
  5. Coordination and partnerships; and,
  6. Agency commitments to use border wait time data to inform decision-making and direct policy.

The information from this exchange will help stakeholders prioritize next steps to advance border wait time tools, technology, and information sharing. At upcoming meetings the U.S. - Mexico Joint Working Committee on Transportation Planning and the Canada - U.S. Transportation Border Working Group will identify and pursue joint action items to address these areas.

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Why Are Performance Measures Important?

Performance measures are objective, quantitative indicators that can help an organization measure success, strengthen programs, and improve results. Speakers from the U.S., Mexico, and Canada described some important uses for performance measures related to border wait times, including the following:

One of the major uses for border wait time data is the development of performance measures.

Related Projects

Cross Border Freight Performance Measure Analysis
The Federal Highway Administration is working with the State of Arizona to evaluate the performance of border crossings for commercial trucks in Nogales, using probe data. The Federal Highway Administration hopes to expand this analysis to evaluate other key corridors in and out of the U.S. The study is intended to track and understand truck speed reliability, traffic volumes, and origins and destinations related to international commercial traffic.

Freight Fluidity Performance Measures
Freight Fluidity Performance Measures is a tri-national effort to investigate the key supply chains of specific industries, including border crossing travel time analysis. The concept of fluidity accounts for the multi-modal nature of goods movement, and it addresses system performance from origin to destination.

For more information on either of the above two initiatives, contact Nicole Katsikides (Nicole.Katsikides@dot.gov) or visit FHWA's Performance Measurement for Freight Transportation website.

Related Data
Presenters also described a number of related data resources. The Appendix contains a list of these related data resources.

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How Do Border Agencies Use Wait Time Information and What Is Needed?

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Jim Pattan, of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, discussed the agency's use of border wait time information and current needs.

Assessing Port Operations
U.S. Customs and Border Protection analyzes changes in wait time to determine whether the agency should respond by changing processes, staffing, and/or technology. The agency also combines wait time information with other data sources. The agency mapped out the relationships between border wait time and other metrics to show how they influence one another.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection uses real-time data to inform adjustments in daily operations. The agency uses “active lane management,” which means that staff can change lane designations as conditions change. So for example, they may increase or decrease the number of trusted traveler lanes relative to the number of general travel lanes. The agency indicates lane designations through the use of light emitting diode signs.

The agency also uses wait time information to populate a variety of reports and dashboards that reveal short and long-term statistics and trends which may impact port operations. The majority of these dashboards are internal, although the agency also provides information to the public via its website.

Assessing Return on Investment and Process Improvements
The agency uses wait time data to measure the benefits of past investments and to calculate projected savings for new initiatives in order to secure funding.

Needs
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has the following needs related to border wait time data:

Canada Border Services Agency

Mathieu Pouliotte and Afshin Shams, of the Canada Border Services Agency, presented about the agency's use of border wait time information. Primary goals for border wait time information include:

The agency generates weekly and quarterly reports on performance and service standards using border wait time data. The agency also produces a National Peak Period Summer Evaluation with border wait time data and other sources of information. Finally, the agency uses border wait time data to field ad hoc inquiries from the media, various Canadian government departments, and other stakeholders.

Mexican Tax Administration Service

Rogelio Sanchez Cruz, of the Mexican Tax Administration Service, presented about the agency's use of border wait time information and current needs. He emphasized that it is important to have comprehensive as well as accurate information. For example, in the case of commercial traffic, it is not enough to understand wait times at the border without understanding origins and destinations and total travel times.

U.S. Government Accountability Office Report on U.S. - Mexico Commercial Vehicle Wait Time Information

Claudia Becker and Rebecca Gambler, of the Government Accountability Office, presented about a recent relevant report that their agency produced. The U.S. Government Accountability Office is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress. It evaluates Federal programs and investigates how the Federal government spends taxpayer dollars. In 2013, the agency conducted a study and issued a resulting report titled U.S. - Mexico Border: CBP Action Needed to Improve Wait Time Data and Measure Outcomes of Trade Facilitation Efforts. The study found that U.S. Customs and Border Protection's manually collected data on commercial vehicle wait times were unreliable for public reporting and agency management decisions across border crossings. The report recommended that U.S. Customs and Border Protection assess the feasibility of replacing manual methods with automated data collection. Automation would improve data reliability and enable the development of outcome-oriented performance measures related to the agency goal of facilitating trade.

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Overview of Technologies for Collecting Traffic Information

Jorge Acha, of the Mexican Institute of Transportation, presented an overview of technologies used for collecting traffic information. Others also shared insights on various technologies throughout the rest of the exchange. This section summarizes the information on each technology.

Figure 1: Inductive circuit (loop detectors) in the pavement at a British Columbia crossing.

photograph marked to show the location of a loop detector in the pavement

Traditional Technologies
Traditional automated detection systems often include the following:

Inductive Circuits (Loop Detectors)
Advantages

Disadvantages

Passive Infrared Detectors
Advantages

Disadvantages

Active Infrared Detectors
Advantages

Disadvantages

Microwave Detectors
Advantages

Disadvantages

Closed Circuit Television Surveillance Cameras with Manual Image Processing
Advantages

Disadvantages

Automated Video Image Processing
Advantages

Disadvantages

Current and Emerging Hardware-Based Technologies

A number of emerging traffic counting technologies gather data by using readers or other equipment to detect and/or connect with various devices in vehicles. These include the following:

Figure 2: Bluetooth reader on highway shoulder in Ontario, Canada

photograph of a Bluetooth reader container locked to a highway railing

Common Advantages
All of these emerging hardware-based technologies share certain advantages:

Common Disadvantages
These emerging hardware-based technologies share certain disadvantages:

Agencies have developed a variety of solutions to address these challenges. For example, agencies conduct feasibility studies to estimate the sample sizes for a technology prior to implementing a system. They may also combine technologies to validate data and/or develop estimating algorithms based on ground-truthing. Agencies have addressed potential equipment failure through a variety of strategies, such as:

Other Considerations Specific to Particular Technologies

Radio Frequency Identification
A number of regions already use RFID technologies for other purposes, and a number of national border agencies have already installed RFID-based systems.

Bluetooth
Cellular data service may be intermittent. One solution is to create a virtual private network as a back-up option when cellular service is not functioning. Another is to hardwire data/internet connections to the Bluetooth readers as this is much more reliable but can have large upfront costs.

Global Positioning System (GPS)
GPS requires the installation of equipment in individual vehicles and a center for receiving and processing information. In addition, some telemetry systems may not be able to provide data at sufficiently fine time increments.

Emerging Non-Hardware-Based Solutions

Crowdsourced Data
Some border wait time data solutions aggregate data without the use of any hardware (e.g. readers or detectors). INRIX is one company that uses this approach. (See section: Service Providers, INRIX). Unisys is another example of a company that is currently developing such an approach (albeit in a hybrid combination with other agency data), as described in the section titled Border Automated Wait Time Solution.

Advantages

Disadvantages

Connected Vehicles
The continuing development of connected vehicle technology and implementation will likely provide even more opportunities for agencies to gather traffic data relevant to border wait time.

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Overview of Projects and Systems

Mappir Mexico

Eduardo Rodriguez Ampudia of the Mexican Secretary of Communications and Transport presented about an application called Mappir Mexico. The purpose of this application is to provide official, accurate information on road routes in Mexico. The application provides information such as travel distances, travel times, toll costs by vehicle type, estimated fuel consumption, emergencies, road construction, and weather. The application is available on the internet and via smart phones.

Mappir Mexico provides useful information at border crossings. For example, it can display current traffic volumes by vehicle type (updated every three minutes), and it has an algorithm to estimate expected wait times (updated every 15 minutes). Figure 3 shows a screenshot of the application.

Figure 3: Screenshot of Mappir Mexico, showing suggested routes.

screenshot of Mappir Mexico, displaying two suggested routes: one in red and one in blue

Washington State - British Columbia Border

Melissa Fanucci of the Whatcom Council of Governments and Paul Neel of the Washington State Department of Transportation presented about the Cascade Gateway border wait time systems. This border crossing has automated technologies to collect border wait time data in both the northbound and southbound directions. See the Data Sources on Border Wait Time section of the Appendix.

Northbound
The Washington State Department of Transportation installed the first part of its Cascade Gateway Border Traveler Information System in 2001. Since that initial northbound installation at the Peace Arch/Douglas and Pacific Highway ports-of-entry, the system has expanded to include the two other Cascade Gateway ports of entry (Lynden/Aldergrove and Sumas/Abbotsford-Huntingdon). The system provides wait times for NEXUS cars and trucks at Pacific Highway, and will soon have wait times for trucks at Lynden/Aldergrove.

System Specifics
The system uses an algorithm that calculates current wait times by dividing the approximate number of vehicles in the queue by the service rate. Loop detectors near the booths determine service rate by counting vehicles per minute. Loop detectors further upstream determine the number of vehicles in the queue. Wait time information is available through variable message signs, the internet, a traveler information telephone system (511), and smart phone applications.

Archiving
The Cascade Gateway Border Data Warehouse stores data on wait times, traffic volumes, and service rates. The data is available for analysis. The system can also produce alerts when wait times exceed a specified threshhold.

Validation and Calibration
The Washington State Department of Transportation periodically adjusts the algorithms as needed. Through the Dynamic Border Management project the agency is working with the Whatcom Council of Governments to examine options to install Bluetooth readers to collect actual wait times. They plan to use the data from the Bluetooth readers to validate the data from the loop detectors. They will also use this data to calibrate the northbound system on an ongoing basis as the infrastructure and operations change at each crossing.

Southbound
The British Columbia Ministry of Transportation installed the first part of its Advanced Traveler Information System in 2000. It expanded in subsequent years to include all four regional ports-of-entry. This system does not calculate commercial vehicle wait times.

System Specifics
The southbound system is very similar to the northbound one with the following exceptions:

Archiving
The Cascade Gateway Border Data Warehouse also stores southbound data in five minute increments.

Validation and Calibration
A consultant operates the system and calibrates it as needed. The Dynamic Border Management project may also install Bluetooth readers to collect actual wait times to calibrate the southbound system on an ongoing basis (as described above for the northbound system).

Buffalo-Niagara Region (Ontario-New York Border)

Roger Ripa, of the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority, presented about the use of Bluetooth to automatically calculate border wait times in the Buffalo-Niagara region. Currently a system is in place at two crossings: the Peace Bridge and Queenston/Lewiston. The systems use Traffax readers and FastLane BluFaxWeb software (See section: BluFaxWeb). See the Appendix for a chart listing these and other systems.

Data Produced and Users
Users of the system data include the Peace Bridge Authority, Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Canada Border Services Agency, and the New York State traveler information telephone system (511).

The system calculates average wait times for each vehicle type and direction, and provides the information to the agencies. The agencies post updates every five minutes. The system uses color coding to indicate status at a glance. Green means delay of 0 to 30 minutes, yellow indicates a delay of 30 to 60 minutes, and red indicates a delay of greater than 60 minutes. In addition to the colors, text displays the precise calculated values. Anything below 10 minutes appears as “no delay” and anything above that appears as a value (rounded to the nearest minute). Some agencies use trending arrows to indicate continuous increases or decreases over the last three posted wait times.

Problems and Solutions
The Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority encountered and solved a number of problems related to their two Bluetooth-based systems, as detailed in Table 2 below.

Table 2: Problems and solutions for the Bluetooth-based systems in the Buffalo-Niagara region

Problem Solution
Improper placement of readers Investigation by all parties to find the problematic readers and tune and relocate them.
Improper configuration of readers and links Live system monitoring by agencies working together with software developer receiving the data.
Need to separate distinct vehicle types Directional antennas to detect certain areas of traffic separately from others (ex. NEXUS lanes).
“Tagging” of vehicles to assign a unique identifier for each vehicle and classify it as a car or truck for future visits.
System is slow to show changes in wait times Shorter distances between links.
Cellular internet communication issues near the border Hardwiring readers into existing networks where possible.
Use of a private cellular network instead of the public network.

System Calibration and Maintenance
The system owner can do most calibration via a web interface. Maintenance tasks are generally infrequent but can include:

Flexibility to Changing Operations
The system can adapt to changing lane designations and still provide accurate data for distinct vehicle types, as long as there is a physical separation between vehicle types at some point prior to the crossing. However, if the lane types change constantly without an upstream separation of vehicle types, the system cannot provide data by vehicle type unless there is a method to notify the system of such changes in real-time. Melissa Fannucci discussed a related project to do just that (albeit for a loop detector system rather than a Bluetooth system). See section, Integrating Data on Dynamically Changing Lane Types into Automated Border Wait Time Systems.

Next Steps
The Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority and partner organizations plan to pursue the following next steps:

Ontario-Michigan Border

Mike Barnet, of the Ontario Ministry of Transporation, described regional efforts to apply intelligent transportation systems to cross border issues.

Hybrid Systems to Collect Border Wait Time Data
Mike Barnet described collaborative efforts between the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and the Michigan Department of Transportation to develop automated systems that collect and disseminate border wait time data in real-time. See the Appendix for a chart listing these and other systems. One completed system is at the Blue Water Bridge Crossing between Port Huron, Michigan and Point Edward, Ontario. The following systems are still in the design stage:

Blue Water Bridge Crossing
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation and the Michigan Department of Transportation record border wait time data through a hybrid approach using both Bluetooth readers and vehicle detectors. One challenge here is that the construction of the system happened under separate contracts for the U.S. and Canadian sides. For this reason, stringent coordination efforts and constant communication were essential to ensure compatibility. This system is currently live, but the data is not yet available to the public.

Hybrid Approach
To ensure ease of use for travelers, the project team sought to develop a system that would be cohesive on both sides of the crossing and consistent with the user interface provided at other crossings. After reviewing other systems and technologies, the agencies decided to pursue a hybrid approach with both Bluetooth and loop detectors. The loop detectors record the flow and volume of vehicles in the queue, and the Bluetooth readers record historical travel time information. Although this hybrid approach is more expensive, the team chose to use the hybrid system because of the increased accuracy that such a system provides at the critical moments when traffic volumes change suddenly. TLoop detectors and Bluetooth readers have complementary strengths and weaknesses. For example, Bluetooth readers only provide data when a vehicle completes a segment from one reader to the next. This means there may be a time lag between the time when conditions change and the time when the system provides data indicating the change. Loop detectors can reduce time lags because they can submit data at any interval. However, one limitation of loop detectors is that they typically exhibit three percent error in comparison to manual counts. The Bluetooth travel time data helps to correct the loop detector data to better match reality. Mike Barnet indicated that a hybrid approach is not always necessary. Less complicated approaches can and should be used on lower volume border crossings. Currently the agencies are in the process of evaluating whether it was worth the extra cost at the Blue Water Bridge Crossing.

Data Analysis and Verification of Data Quality
The agencies query the data periodically to check for accuracy. This identifies errors or areas of concern and allows them to make adjustments accordingly. They conduct a detailed analysis each week on the data they receive from the system. Currently, the agencies are working to validate the data from the system by comparing it to operators' visual observations. They are also investigating intermittent Bluetooth failures when traffic volumes are low.

Lessons Learned
Mike Barnet described several key findings and lessons learned, as follows:

Related Work

Herb Gray Parkway: Goals for an Intelligent Border Crossing
The Herb Gray Parkway is a planned six-lane urban freeway with 11 tunnels and service roads, which will connect Route 401 to the U.S. Interstate Highway System. The parkway is currently under construction in the municipalities of Windsor, LaSalle, and Tecumseh, which are in Ontario, across the border from Detroit, Michigan. The plan is to make this an “intelligent border crossing,” with the following goals:

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation and the Michigan Department of Transportation established a memorandum of understanding to develop an automated border wait time data collection system and they are also coordinating with a variety of other stakeholders.

Cross Border Partnerships
The Great Lakes Regional Transportation Operations Coalition is a partnership of Great Lakes agencies that collaborates on initiatives that improve cross-regional transportation operations in support of regional economic competitiveness and improved quality of life.

The Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition is a coalition of agencies developed to improve the safety and efficiency of the transportation system. The coalition provides real-time traffic and roadway information to improve traffic flows and enhance emergency assistance for motorists using the transportation system.

The ENTERPRISE Pooled Fund Study recently started a project to summarize current and emerging practices for the use of intelligent transportation system technologies at international borders.

Incident Management System
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation and the Michigan Department of Transportation are planning to develop procedures and software for an incident management system that advises travelers of nearby traffic incidents. The system would exchange traffic incident information, including video images, between the two jurisdictions. This would allow operators on both sides of the border to provide updates to the traveling public.

Projected benefits pertain to the following areas:

Sonora-Arizona Border

Lessons Learned at the Nogales - Mariposa Port of Entry
Marisa Walker, of the Arizona Commerce Authority, presented some lessons learned from the 2009 implementation of an RFID-based border wait time system at the Nogales - Mariposa port of entry, as follows:

See the Appendix for a chart listing this and other systems.

Feasibility Study of Bluetooth Technology for Arizona - Mexico Crossings

Rudy Perez, of the Arizona Department of Transportation, presented about an upcoming analysis of the effectiveness of Bluetooth technology to capture wait time information at six ports of entry on the Arizona - Mexico border. The Arizona Department of Transportation plans to produce a final report on this study by December 2015.

The objectives of the study are as follows:

See the Appendix for a chart listing this and other systems.

Baja California Study on the Use of GPS to Assess Commercial Wait Times

Crystal Jones, of the Federal Highway Administration, presented about a study entitled Measuring Cross-Border Travel Times for Freight: Otay Mesa International Border Crossing. In October 2008 the Federal Highway Administration contracted a study team to conduct a two-part study. This team assessed GPS technology for the measurement of commercial truck travel times through the Otay Mesa international border crossing from Mexico into the US. The primary goal was to evaluate the ability of GPS technology to accurately record travel times through the border zone.

The study accomplished the following:

The study identified the following lessons learned:

Local partners did not have the resources to continue the study beyond the official conclusion in 2010. The final report is available at: www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/fhwahop10051/fhwahop10051.pdf.

Tamaulipas/Nuevo León/Coahuila/Chihuahua - Texas Border

Eduardo Hagert, of the Texas Department of Transportation, presented about a study to assess the effectiveness of six different technologies for gathering border wait time data. The study examined commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles separately. For commercial vehicles, the study assessed the effectiveness of the following technologies:

For passenger vehicles, the study only assessed the effectiveness of Bluetooth readers, as it was the most feasible option.

Based on the results of the studies, they now have RFID-based systems in place to monitor northbound commercial traffic at seven ports of entry, and a Bluetooth-based system to monitor northbound privately-owned vehicle traffic at one bridge in El Paso Texas. See the Appendix for details on this and other systems. The data from the system is available on the Border Crossing Information System (See section: Border Crossing Information System). As a next step, the Texas Department of Transportation is planning to install a second Bluetooth-based system to monitor northbound privately-owned vehicle traffic at a second bridge, also in El Paso.

Analysis of Border Wait Times at 29 Crossings

Eduardo Rodriguez Ampudia, of the Mexican Secretary of Communications and Transport, presented about a border wait time study that his agency conducted in 2012. The study investigated 29 out of 53 crossings on the U.S. - Mexico border and used modeling to understand northbound and southbound traffic. The purpose of the study was to prioritize opportunities for modernizing existing crossings, building new crossing infrastructure, and using innovative financing mechanisms. The studied crossings represent a variety of different physical and operational characteristics. Table 3 shows the locations of the 29 crossings.

Table 3: Locations of the 29 crossings studied as part of a modeling analysis that the Mexican Secretary of Communications and Transport conducted.

Crossing Mexican State
Puerta México - San Ysidro Baja California
Mesa de Otay I - Otay Mesa Baja California
Tecate - Tecate Baja California
Mexicali I - Calexico West Baja California
Mexicali II - Calexico East Baja California
Los Algodones - Andrade Baja California
SLRC I - San Luis West Sonora
SLRC II - San Luis East Sonora
Sonoyta - Lukeville Sonora
Sesabe - Sesabe Sonora
Nogales I - Deconcini Sonora
Nogales III - Mariposa Sonora
Naco - Naco Sonora
Agua Prieta - Douglas Sonora
Palomas - Columbus Chihuahua
San Jerónimo - Santa Teresa Chihuahua
El Paso - Cd. Juárez Chihuahua
Guadalupe - Fabens Chihuahua
Ojinaga - Presidio Chihuahua
Ciudad Acuña - Del Rio Coahuila
PI I Piedras Negras - Eagle Pass Coahuila
PI II Piedras Negras - Eagle Pass Coahuila
Nuevo Laredo I - Bridge I Tamaulipas
Nuevo Laredo III Tamaulipas
Nuevo Laredo II Tamaulipas
PC20 Tamaulipas
Reynosa - Hidalgo Tamaulipas
Progreso - Nuevo Progreso Tamaulipas
Zaragoza Tamaulipas

The study proceeded in five stages and included the development of the following:

In 2015 the agency plans to conduct a new study that will prioritize up to 30 of the most important ports of entry. The study will examine the benefits of reduced wait time for users and investigate best practices for reducing wait time and improving service.

San Ysidro Pilot Study (California - Mexico Border)

Samuel Johnson, of the San Diego Association of Governments, and Mario Orso, of the California Department of Transportation, described plans for a new port of entry east of the existing Otay Mesa crossing that will reduce congestion and give travelers a faster and more predictable option for crossing the border. The new crossing and roadways on either side of the border will reduce wait times for a new crossing in the region (Otay Mesa East), using innovative technologies such as variable-rate tolls. Effective tolling and efficient use of the system of border crossings will depend on accurate and timely information on border wait times, so the project team is developing a proof of concept to automatically collect and disseminate border wait time data. Eventually there will be automated systems at each crossing in the region, but the initial pilot will focus on the San Ysidro crossing. The pilot study should be complete by December 2015. Following the pilot, the project team will create border wait time systems at the remaining regional crossings. The overall effort should be complete by 2018. See the Appendix for a chart listing these and other systems.

The San Ysidro pilot system will retrofit existing highway call boxes (emergency roadside phones) with solar panels, extra batteries, and the Bluetooth reader card so they can operate as Bluetooth readers. This will reduce costs and allow for a broader deployment of Bluetooth readers than would otherwise be possible. The use of the call boxes also helps to address ongoing maintenance issues, because SANDAG can address maintenance through existing agreements. The algorithm and approach will be similar to that used by the Texas Department of Transportation, the Texas Transportation Institute, and Mexico along the Texas - Mexico border.

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National Border Agency Efforts and Challenges

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Jim Pattan of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection discussed the agency's border wait time automation initiatives. Currently wait time data collection is manual. Of the 74 ports of entry for which the agency collects wait time data, only two are automated. However, the agency has a goal to implement automated data collection at all land border ports of entry. A pilot deployment will occur in spring 2015.

Northern Border
In 2010, the bi-national Border Wait Time work group assessed four technologies for automating the measurement of border wait times. The assessment resulted in the deployment of an automated Bluetooth-based solution in the Niagara Region, and subsequent deployment of Bluetooth system in July 2012 at the Peace Bridge and Queenston-Lewiston Bridges (See section: Buffalo-Niagara Region (Ontario-New York Border)).

Southern Border
In April 2014, U.S. Customs and Border Protection partnered with the Federal Highway Administration and the Texas Transportation Institute to customize an existing automated, RFID-based commercial wait time system. This will allow U.S. Customs and Border Protection to receive automated commercial wait time data from several border crossings in Texas and Arizona.

Figure 4: Screenshot of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection mobile app

screenshot of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection mobile app displaying the two nearest ports in Buffalo, NY

Border Wait Time Mobile App
U.S. Customs and Border Protection developed a mobile app for smartphones, which provides the same information that is available on the agency website. It also provides an additional feature that allows the user to find their nearest port of entry. This feature displays the three closest ports of entry and the current wait time at each. Figure 4 shows a screenshot of the app.

Border Automated Wait Time Solution
U.S. Customs and Border Protection plan to develop a hybrid solution for providing automated border wait time data. The system will use private sector data on travel times in combination with U.S. Customs and Border Protection data on lane and vehicle throughput. The agency anticipates a pilot deployment of the solution by spring 2015. The pilot project will test the system for private vehicles at five ports of entry and determine its accuracy by comparing the results to information obtained from direct observation and Bluetooth. If the pilot data service proves successful, U.S. Customs and Border Protection anticipates it will eventually expand to commercial vehicles and deploy it in all 71 ports of entry for which the agency currently collects wait time data.

Craig McIntire, of the Unisys Corporation, described the details of the data service. The system will automatically ingest and process commercially available data from moving vehicles. This means there will be no need to install additional hardware to collect data. The system will not transmit personally identifiable information (to preserve privacy). It will segregate wait time data by lane type (e.g., NEXUS, ready lane), and it will provide updates every five minutes. The data service will also provide information on sample size and statistical confidence levels.

The primary data source will be TomTom “Floating Car Data.” This data source does not meet all of the requirements for the automated border wait time data solution on its own. For this reason, the border wait time solution will also use supplementary data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection to fill in the gaps, creating a data service that meets all requirements. Figure 5 maps the proposed data service.

Figure 5: Diagram showing the proposed data inputs and process for the data service that Unisys will create for U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Unisys' data flow process diagram for U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Canada Border Services Agency

Mathieu Pouliotte and Afshim Shams, of the Canada Border Services Agency, discussed their agency's border wait time automation initiatives.

Forecasted Border Wait Times
In April 2014, the Canada Border Service Agency introduced Forecasted Border Wait Times, a tool that the public can use to plan travel. The forecasted data are based on an average of quarterly data from the previous year. The forecasts are predictive but do not account for real-time factors (e.g., weather, traffic, special events). As a result, there may be wide discrepancies between forecast and actual border wait times.

Automated Border Wait Time Reporting
As part of the Beyond the Border Action Plan, the Canada Border Service Agency launched its redesigned border wait time application in June 2014. The information on that website refreshes every five minutes with new data from the five ports of entry that have automated data collection systems. Another release planned for 2015 will improve existing functionality and reduce operational pressure on front line staff. The Canada Border Service Agency is also working with the Washington State Department of Transportation to improve data accuracy in the Pacific West region.

Mexican Tax Administration Service

Rogelio Sanchez Cruz, of the Mexican Tax Administration Service, discussed the agency's status and current thinking related to border wait time data collection. He noted that his agency does not currently have any automated technologies in place to collect border wait time data. However, he anticipates that his agency will soon be evaluating the applicability of various technologies for monitoring northbound traffic volumes and wait times.

Rogelio noted that he would like to get information on wait times for commercial vehicles prior to arriving at customs stations. Currently the Tax Administration Service only has information on the processing time once a commercial vehicle arrives at customs. He also mentioned that the agency plans to invest in additional infrastructure and technologies for automated commercial vehicle selection and risk analysis, which will reduce customs processing times.

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Private Sector Analysis

Alfonso Soto presented on behalf of the Association of Maquiladoras of Sonora. He discussed a private sector perspective on border wait time issues, presented findings from several studies, and introduced a software platform for monitoring cross-border travel. Alfonso emphasized that it is important to examine the problem of cross-border freight transportation from a holistic perspective that considers origins and destinations in addition to just border wait or crossing time. He also noted that the variability and unpredictability of border wait time is a major concern for the private sector.

Study of U.S. - Mexico Cross-Border Travel in 2009

Fifteen companies contributed to the study by providing one year of data on cross-border travel at the Mariposa port of entry in Nogales, Arizona. According to Alfonso, the key findings from the analysis are as follows:

Facil-e-Trade Software Platform

Following the 2009 study, the association and stakeholders sought to map the total process of cross-border travel. In 2012 they developed a software platform, Facil-e-Trade, designed to monitor the travel time for various segments of cross border travel from origin to destination. Facil-e-Trade also monitors the security and integrity of shipments. Based on a limited pilot of Facil-e-Trade from 2013 and 2014 at the port of Nogales, the results suggest that rigor of the inspections processes correlated with time of day as well as day of week. For example, in the mornings, inspections tended to be much longer. Officials did not inspect any shipments Wednesday afternoons from 12:00-3:00.

Suggested Next Steps and Timeline

In 2015, the association plans to:

The association identified the following locations to test Facil-e-Trade in 2015 (selected because those locations represented approximately 70 percent of the commercial vehicle crossings from 2008 to 2012):

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Data Storage and Data Mining

Texas Transportation Institute

Rajat Rajbhandari, of the Texas Transportation Institute, presented about archived data and the Border Crossing Information System.

Archived Data
Rajat outlined the following possible uses for archived data:

According to Rajat, some types of queries are relatively easy to answer with a high degree of certainty. Others are more difficult to answer and may involve a high level of uncertainty. For example, questions related to a particular day will generally be easy to answer with a high degree of certainty. However, month-to-month comparisons are more difficult, and year-to-year comparisons are even more difficult and more uncertain. These longer-term comparisons require data aggregation, which involves implicit assumptions. Different approaches for aggregating the data may make the comparisons appear different. Due to this, Rajat noted that agencies may be challenged to identify appropriate performance measures. For example, rather than comparing average wait time across years, it may be more appropriate to compare the percentage of instances in which the wait time exceeded a given threshold.

Figure 6: Screenshot from the Border Crossing Information System

screenshot from the Border Crossing Information System of real-time information (expected wait time and expected crossing time) for seven Texas border crossings

Border Crossing Information System
The Border Crossing Information System archives border wait time data for ports of entry on the U.S. - Mexico border. It allows users to query a number of different statistics, but it does not provide raw data. Available information includes the following:

Rajat noted that the Border Crossing Information System is not well known, and the weblog indicates that there are only a few users. The Texas Transportation Institute and partners plan to improve publicity in order to generate more users. Figure 6 shows a screenshot of the system.

U.S. - Canada Border Wait Time Archive

Melissa Fanucci of the Whatcom Council of Governments presented about the U.S. - Canada Border Wait Time Archive. This database is publically accessible online. It stores estimated border wait times and other traffic data from the six border crossings currently equipped with delay measurement technology. This includes two crossings in the Buffalo/Niagara region (New York - Ontario border), and four crossings in the Cascade Gateway region (Washington - British Columbia border). The website allows border stakeholders to view and extract a variety of data sets and summary statistics. Users can query and download the data. The subscription tool allows users to sign up for email alerts whenever a certain wait time is reached or exceeded. All of the data are accessible through an application programming interface, which allows other web developers, applications, and websites to use the data. As other regional border crossings install automated border wait time systems, the database will incorporate the additional data.

Validation and Calibration of Data in the Cascade Gateway Region
Melissa Fanucci, of the Whatcom Council of Governments, presented about an upcoming effort to improve existing datasets on border wait times through ongoing validation and calibration. The project will develop a shared methodology to periodically validate and calibrate the southbound and northbound advanced traveler information systems on the Washington - British Columbia border. The project team includes a variety of agencies on both sides of the border.

The project team is investigating options for collecting redundant data using different forms of automated technology. This approach will allow the agencies to validate data on an ongoing basis without a large investment of labor. The team is considering using Bluetooth, WiFi, and/or the automated system that Unisys is developing for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (See section: Border Automated Wait Time Solution). The next steps are to conduct a feasibility analysis and estimate the initial and ongoing costs.

Historical Data on the Trusted Traveler Program for the US - Canada Border
Chris Dingman of the Federal Highway Administration presented about a study that he conducted on the trusted traveler program using data from the Cascade Gateway Border Data Warehouse. As a result of the study, Chris arrived at the following conclusions:

Integrating Data on Dynamically Changing Lane Types into Automated Border Wait Time Systems
Melissa Fanucci of the Whatcom Council of Governments discussed dynamically changing lane types and the challenge that this may pose for some automated systems collecting wait time data. She described temporary and long-term solutions to address the problem and regain accuracy.

At select ports of entry, including the Peace Arch Bridge, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection uses dynamically changing lane types to optimize operations at any given moment based on current demand. For example, if RFID readers detect that many NEXUS users are approaching the crossing, the agency can use overhead signs to expand the number of NEXUS lanes relative to standard traffic lanes. This reduces wait times and improves efficiency. However, it also leads to inaccuracies in automated data collection systems with loop detectors that report wait times based on the assumption that lane types are static.

As a temporary measure to alleviate this issue, the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation border wait time system omitted data collected in front of the booths. Instead, the system calculated wait times using the set of loops further upstream from the booths, where traffic is broken into general purpose lanes and the NEXUS lane. The long-term solution to this problem is to augment the border wait time algorithm with real-time data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection on current lane status. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has already made this data available and the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation will soon make changes to the automated border wait time system to incorporate the information.

If the solution at the Peace Arch Bridge proves successful, U.S. Customs and Border Protection can make the same data available for other port locations. In the future the Canada Border Services Agency may also implement dynamically changing lane types. That will require a similar effort to integrate real-time data on lane status into the border wait time system on northbound traffic.

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Service Providers

Representatives from the private sector described current products and services available to assist with automated monitoring and reporting of border wait time information.

BluFaxWeb

Scott Melby, of Fast Lane Software, presented about BluFaxWeb, a product developed by Traffax and Fast Lane Software. The developers originally created BluFaxWeb for monitoring highways and subsequently adapted it for border crossings. This uses Bluetooth technology, but Traffax is working to create a system based on a combination of Bluetooth and WiFi. This is the system used for the Peace Bridge and Queenston-Lewiston Bridge (See section: Buffalo-Niagara Region (Ontario-New York Border)).

BluFaxWeb can address many typical border wait time needs and provides the following:

INRIX

Pete Costello discussed INRIX products available for traffic monitoring. INRIX is a global company that uses probe data and crowd sourcing to aggregate data and provides a variety of internet services and mobile applications pertaining to road traffic and driver services. INRIX provides real-time, historical, and predictive data. Relevant to the border, INRIX provides:

Productivity Apex

Mansooreh Mollaghasemi discussed current and planned activities for Productivity Apex and relevant connections with border wait time data collection and analysis. Productivity Apex is a technical research, development, and consulting firm dedicated to increasing productivity and efficiency. Mansooreh set the stage for her presentation by outlining several key recommendations and issues. She noted that current approaches to managing border wait times rely on data sources that have limited ability to predict the future. In some cases, this may result from planning horizons that are too short (60 minutes at best) and a lack of time to efficiently reallocate resources and optimize travel conditions. She recommended that this group aspire to obtain longer planning horizons, such as a 24 hour planning horizon. This would require additional sources of information and cooperation from all major stakeholders. For example, motor carriers would submit their travel plans, border agencies would plan their staffing allocations, and an algorithm would predict the resulting traffic conditions. This would allow the organizations to proactively adjust.

Mansooreh described an analogous solution that Productivity Apex has already developed: the Freight Advanced Traveler Information System. This is a software platform that improves the efficiency of freight movements through advanced planning and real-time information. It uses an optimization algorithm (customized for each site) to do the following:

Productivity Apex completed pilot implementations in Memphis, Tennessee; Los Angeles and Long Beach, California; and South Florida with positive results in terms of operational improvements. The company is now beginning a second pilot implementation in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California. The company is also beginning another pilot implementation on the I-35 freight corridor in Texas. According to Mansooreh, this type of solution can also be applied to border crossings to improve efficiency, reliability, and information-sharing.

Control Technologies

Sarah King, from Control Technologies, presented about several products and technologies for border wait time data collection.

WiFi

Acyclica is a company that collects traffic data through WiFi. The company initially began with Bluetooth but switched to WiFi because it found that the sample size with Bluetooth was consistently too low. WiFi passively and anonymously detects addresses, whereas Bluetooth needs to momentarily pare with each device in order to function.

Thermal Imaging

FLIR is a thermal imaging company. Thermal imaging can collect traffic information for multiple lanes. This is different from infrared detection. The company also provides a system that allows for linkages with variable message signs. This allows agencies to post automated messages to alert travelers of conditions.

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Appendix

Maricopa Association of Governments
302 North First Avenue
Second Floor, in the Saguaro Room
Phoenix, Arizona 85003

Agenda

Tuesday, December 9
8:30 A.M. Welcome
- Margie Emmermann, Policy Advisor to the Governor and Executive Director of the Arizona-Mexico Commission
8:40 A.M. Meeting Purpose and Introductions
- Travis Black, Federal Highway Administration, Eduardo Rodriguez Ampudia, Mexican Secretary of Communications and Transport, and Julie Irvine, Transport Canada
8:50 A.M. Why are Performance Measures Important?
  • Federal Highway Administration -Rick Backlund (10 Min.)
  • Transport Canada -Julie Irvine (5 Min.)
  • Mexican Secretary of Communications and Transport - Eduardo Rodriguez Ampudia
How is Border Wait time information used by Border Agencies and what is needed?
Potential Performance Measures (Commercial, Passenger Vehicle and Pedestrians)
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection - Jim Pattan (5 Min.)
  • Canada Border Services Agency - Mathieu Pouliotte and Afshin Shams (10 Min.)
  • Tax Administration Service - Rogelio Sanchez Cruz (5 Min.)
9:30 A.M. Definitions “Current Wait-time” v “Crossing Time” v “Future Wait-Time” v “Expected Wait-Times” what do these mean?
- Moderator, Tiffany Julien, Federal Highway Administration (25 Min. including discussion)
  • Canada - U.S. Border Joint Projects - Crystal Jones, Federal Highway Administration (Remote 7 Min.)
  • U.S. - Mexico Border U.S. Projects - Rajat Rajbhandari, Texas Transportation Institute (7 Min.)
  • Mexico - U.S. Border Mexico Project - Eduardo Rodriguez Ampudia, Mexican Secretary of Communications and Transport (7 Min.)
9:55 A.M. Overview of Current/Past Efforts/Systems (20 Min. each, Location by Location)
  • Washington-British Columbia - Melissa Fanucci, Whatcom Council of Governments and Paul Neel, Washington Department of Transportation
  • Ontario-New York - Roger Ripa, Buffalo & Fort Erie Public Bridge Auth.
  • Ontario-Michigan Border -Mike Barnet, Ontario Ministry of Transportation
10:55 A.M. Break
11:05 A.M. Overview of Current/Past Efforts/Systems (20 Min. each, Location by Location) Continued
  • Sonora-Arizona -Marisa Walker, Arizona Commerce Authority and Rudy Perez, Arizona Department of Transportation
  • Baja California - California (previous commercial study) - Crystal Jones, Federal Highway Administration
11:45 A.M. Lunch (on your own)
1:15 P.M. Overview of Current/Past Efforts/Systems (20 Min. each, Location by Location) Continued
  • Tamaulipas/Nuevo León/Coahuila/Chihuahua - Texas - Eduardo Hagert, Texas Department of Transportation
  • Border Wait Time Study of 29 crossings - Eduardo Rodriguez Ampudia, Mexican Secretary of Communications and Transport
  • California Upcoming Study - Sam Johnson, San Diego Association of Governments
2:15 P.M. Border Agency Wait Time Current and Planned Efforts - Challenges (15 Minutes Each)
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection - Jim Pattan
  • Canada Border Services Agency - Mathieu Pouliotte
  • Mexican Tax Administration Service - Rogelio Sanchez Cruz
  • U.S. Government Accountability Office Report on U.S./Mexico Commercial Vehicle Wait time - Claudia Becker/Rebecca Gambler
3:15 P.M. Break
3:25 P.M. Intelligent Platform to Facilitate Trade, Enhance Security & Improve Border Crossing Time
- Presenter Alfonso Soto, Asociacion de Maquiladoras de Sonora, A. C. (30 Min.)
3:55 P.M. Data Warehouse and Data Mining (20 Min. Each)
  • Texas Transportation Institute - Rajat Rajbhandari
  • Feedback on Real Time Wait time Information - Melissa Fanucci, Whatcom Council of Governments
  • Historical Data and the Trusted Traveler Program U.S. - Canada Border, Chris Dingman, Federal Highway Administration
4:55 P.M. Lessons Learned (Group Discussion)
- Moderators, Travis Black, Federal Highway Administration, Eduardo Rodriguez Ampudia, Mexican Secretary of Communications and Transport, and Julie Irvine, Transport Canada
Discussion of lessons learned, refer to flip-chart parking lot of ideas, and use dots/stickers to prioritize/summarize topics of the day.
5:25 P.M. Adjourn for the day
Wednesday, December 10
8:30 A.M. Meeting Purpose & Day One Recap
- Moderators, Travis Black, Federal Highway Administration; Eduardo Rodriguez Ampudia, Mexican Secretary of Communications and Transport & Julie Irvine, Transport Canada
8:40 A.M. Future Technologies
  • Emerging Technologies - Jorge Acha, Instituto Mexicano del Transporte Mexican Secretary of Communications and Transport (20 Min.)
  • Vehicle Primary Client System Algorithms - Melissa Fanucci, Whatcom Council of Governments (10 Min.)
9:10 A.M. Service Providers (30 minutes each)
  • Fast Lane Software/Traffax - Scott Melby and Peter Carnes
  • INRIX - Pete Costello
  • Productivity Apex - Mansooreh Mollaghasemi
  • Control Technologies, Inc. - Sarah King
11:10 A.M. Break
11:20 A.M. Brain Storming Discussion: Opportunities for Border Wait-Times (Group Discussion)
Moderators - Travis Black, Federal Highway Administration; Eduardo Rodriguez Ampudia, Mexican Secretary of Communications and Transport
  • What is needed from Border Wait Times in the Future?
11:45 A.M. Action Planning on Top 3 Priorities
  • Develop List of Opportunities
  • Prioritize List
  • Action items to present to the U.S. - Mexico Joint Working Committee on Transportation Planning and the Canada - U.S. Transportation Border Working Group
12:30 P.M. Wrap-up and Next Steps
- Travis Black, Federal Highway Administration; Eduardo Rodriguez Ampudia, Mexican Secretary of Communications and Transport
1:00 P.M. Adjourn

Presenters

Table 4: Names, affiliations, and contact information for presenters

Name Organization Email
Jorge Acha Mexican Institute of Transportation jacha@imt.mx
Eduardo Rodriguez Ampudia Mexican Secretary of Communications and Transport
Alberto Arechavaleta Tax Administration Service Alberto.Arechavaleta@sat.gob.mx
Rick Backlund Federal Highway Administration Richard.Backlund@dot.gov
Mike Barnet Ontario Ministry of Transportation Mike.Barnet@ontario.ca
Claudia Becker Government Accountability Office BeckerC@gao.gov
Travis Black Federal Highway Administration travis.black@dot.gov
Francisco Calvario Mexican Secretary of Communications and Transport FCalvari@sct.gob.mx
Pete Costello INRIX pete@inrix.com
Rogelio Sánchez Cruz Tax Administration Service rogelio.sanchez@sat.gob.mx
Chris Dingman Federal Highway Administration Christopher.Dingman@dot.gov
Margie Emmermann Arizona-Mexico Commission memmermann@az.gov
Melissa Fannuci Whatcom Council of Governments melissa@wcog.org
Marco Frias Galvan Mexican Secretary of Communications and Transport mfrias@sct.gob.mx
Rebecca Gambler Government Accountability Office gamblerr@gao.gov
Eduardo Hagert Texas Department of Transportation Eduardo.Hagert@txdot.gov
Julie Irvine Transport Canada julie.irvine@tc.gc.ca
Samuel Johnson San Diego Association of Governments Samuel.Johnson@sandag.org
Crystal Jones Federal Highway Administration crystal.jones@dot.gov
Tiffany Julien Federal Highway Administration Tiffany.Julien@dot.gov
Sarah King Control Technologies sarah@cttraffic.com
Craig McIntire Unisys craig.mcintire@unisys.com
Scott Melby Fast Lane Software smelby@fastlanesw.com
Mansooreh Mollaghasemi Productivity Apex mmollagha@productivityapex.com
Michele Mueller Michigan Department of Transportation mmuellerm2@michigan.gov
Paul Neel Washington Department of Transportation neelp@wsdot.wa.gov
Mario Orso California Department of Transportation mario.orso@dot.ca.gov
Jim Pattan U.S. Customs and Border Protection james.pattan@dhs.gov
Rudy Perez, Jr. Arizona Department of Transportation RPerez@azdot.gov
Mathieu Pouliotte Canada Border Services Agency Mathieu.Pouliotte@cbsa-asfc.gc.ca
Rajat Rajbhandari Texas Transportation Institute rajat@tamu.edu
Roger Ripa Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority ror@peacebridge.com
Afshin Shams Canada Border Services Agency Afshin.Shams@cbsa-asfc.gc.ca
Alfonso Soto Association of Maquiladoras of Sonora asoto@mlock.com
Marisa Walker Arizona Commerce Authority MarisaW@AZcommerce.com

Data Sources on Border Wait Time

Border Crossing Information System archives border wait time data for ports of entry on the U.S. - Mexico border.

Cascade Gateway Border Data Warehouse stores data on wait times, traffic volumes, and service rates. Information is available for the Washington State - British Columbia border.

Freight Performance Measurement Program uses data from 600,000 truck probes and is useful in evaluating border crossing delay.

National Performance Management Research Data Set is a free travel time data set based on probe data. It provides historical rather than real-time information.

U.S. - Canada Border Wait Time Archive stores estimated border wait times and other traffic data from the six U.S. - Canada border crossings currently equipped with automated wait time systems.

Status of Automated Border Wait Time Systems

Tables 5 and 6 (combined): Status of automated border wait time systems at various ports of entry

Region Locations Method Status Contact
Washington - British Columbia
  • Pacific Highway
  • Douglas (Peace Arch)
  • Aldergrove
Inductive circuit (loop detectors). Potentially also Bluetooth in the future. Established systems. Future plan to use Bluetooth for validation. melissa@wcog.org
neelp@wsdot.wa.gov
Ontario - New York
  • Peace Bridge
  • Queenston-Lewiston Bridge
Bluetooth Established system ror@peacebridge.com
Ontario - Michigan The Blue Water Bridge Crossing between Port Huron, Michigan and Point Edward, Ontario has an existing hybrid system. Pilot studies are planned at four additional locations:
  • Detroit Tunnel
  • Ambassador Bridge
  • Sault Ste. Marie
  • Detroit River International Bridge
Hybrid (Bluetooth and inductive circuit (loop detectors)) Established system and planned studies Mike.Barnet@ontario.ca
Tamaulipas/Nuevo León/Coahuila/Chihuahua - Texas RFID-based systems for commercial traffic are at seven points of entry, capturing 80-90 percent of commercial traffic:
  • Veterans International Bridge, Brownsville
  • Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge, Pharr
  • World Trade Bridge, Laredo
  • Colombia-Solidarity International Bridge, Laredo
  • Camino Real International Bridge, Eagle Pass
  • Ysleta-Zaragoza International Bridge, El Paso
  • Bridge of the Americas, El Paso
Bluetooth-based system is in place at one port of entry for private vehicle traffic:
  • Ysleta-Zaragoza International Bridge, El Paso
RFID (commercial traffic) and Bluetooth (private vehicles) Established system Eduardo.Hagert@txdot.gov
rajat@tamu.edu
Mexico - Arizona Nogales-Mariposa RFID Planned system MarisaW@AZcommerce.com
Mexico - Arizona Pilot study will assess Bluetooth technology for the following ports of entry:
  • San Luis
  • Lukeville
  • Nogales - Mariposa
  • Nogales - DeConcini
  • Naco
  • Douglas
Bluetooth Planned study RPerez@azdot.gov
California - Mexico San Ysidro Bluetooth Planned study Samuel.Johnson@sandag.org
Various U.S. Customs and Border Protection will pilot test its Automated Border Wait Time Data Service at the following ports of entry:
  • Blaine, Washington
  • Sumas, Washington
  • Port Huron, Michigan
  • Peace Bridge, New York
  • Otay Mesa, California
Hybrid (TomTom “Floating Car Data” combined with U.S. Customs and Border Protection data) Planned study james.pattan@dhs.gov

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Footnote

1 https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/nexus

Updated: 9/30/2016
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