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United States-Mexico Land Ports of Entry Emissions and Border Wait-Time White Paper and Analysis Template

1.0 Executive Summary

1.1 Purpose

Delay and congestion at the ports of entry (POE) along the length of the United States (U.S.)-Mexico border present complicated problems for the commercial and private traffic using the facilities, and impact the surrounding communities and those employed at the border itself. There is a strong desire to implement strategies that reduce emissions at the border to both reduce potential exposure to unhealthy levels of exhaust pollutants and to help regions attain the national ambient air quality standards.

This project developed an analysis template for emissions associated with the ports of entry, and demonstrates its use through two case studies. Results from the case studies identify candidate best practices and performance measures for use as an input during the initial phases of development for projects that alter the border infrastructure or the operational characteristics of the ports of entry.

Projects, solutions, and strategies that can be directly evaluated by the emissions analysis protocol fall into three categories:

Additionally, other types of strategies such as pricing, and policies that effect travel behavior can be evaluated to the extent that changes in delay can be estimated through traffic operations analysis.

1.2 Approach

The framework for the approach is shown as the flowchart provided in Figure 1.1. The process involves developing representative emission rates and then combining those rates with the corresponding vehicle activity. Differences between scenarios can be quantified.

The vehicle idle and start emissions resulting from the secondary inspections process and the commercial cargo inspection process also are captured by the analysis template.

Figure 1.1 Analysis Template Approach

Figure 1.1 replicates Figure 3.1 from the main body of this report; it presents a flow chart for how to conduct an emissions analysis of border crossings. Click image for text description.

Source: Cambridge Systematics, Inc.

Note: The analysis protocol considers three types of vehicle movements that capture the range of emissions as vehicles approach the border crossing. The needed vehicle activity data and corresponding emissions are readily quantifiable for screening analysis or can be applied in a detailed manner for more sophisticated applications.

1.3 Case Study

The Ysleta-Zaragoza port near El Paso was used as a case study to demonstrate the approach. The case study focused on 2010 and demonstrates PM2.5 and NOx emission calculations for four scenarios:

Results of the case studies are shown in Figure 1.2 and Figure 1.3. Even though the commercial traffic (generally consisting of heavy trucks) is much lower than private vehicle traffic (generally consisting of passenger vehicles), the commercial vehicles account for most of the PM2.5 and NOx emissions.

Figure 1.2 2010 Ysleta-Zaragoza Northbound Daily PM2.5 Emissions

Figure 1.2 replicates Figure 5.1 from the main body of this report; it presents a comparison of Particulate Matter 2.5 emissions from several alternatives analyzed. Click image for text description.

Source: Cambridge Systematics, Inc.

Figure 1.3 2010 Ysleta-Zaragoza Northbound Daily NOx Emissions

Figure 1.3 replicates Figure 5.2 from the main body of this report; it presents a comparison of Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) emissions from several alternatives analyzed. Click image for text description.

Source: Cambridge Systematics, Inc.

1.4 Findings

Recommended best management practices focus on minimizing queue delay and congestion at the border.

Examples of strategies that would be compatible with these best management practices would be: consolidating toll and inspection booths; appointment systems; and preclearance of more vehicles and vehicle occupants through programs such as SENTRI, FAST, and the use of Ready Lanes.

Candidate performance measures include:

All of the above metrics should be minimized.

Updated: 10/20/2015
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