Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration
Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

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

2.0 Introduction and Summary

2.1 Project Overview

Emissions at the border crossings along the U.S.-Mexico border are coming under increased scrutiny. This project examined the factors that affect emissions from vehicles idling and moving slowly through the land ports of entry. Project results are compiled into this white paper and analysis template. The analysis template estimates how policy and infrastructure changes will effect emissions, and is designed to allow consistent application of the procedures along both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Two case studies are presented to demonstrate the analysis template. The results of those case studies are then used to develop candidate best practices for emission reductions. Specific objectives of this project include the following:

The emissions analysis template is intended to facilitate the use of air quality performance measures among the evaluation criteria for selecting projects along the U.S.-Mexico border for further consideration by the U.S.-Mexico Joint Working Committee on transportation planning.

2.2 Purpose of This Document

This document presents the analysis protocol for emissions associated with the ports of entry, and demonstrates its use through two case studies. Results from the case studies are used to identify candidate best practices and performance measures for use as an input during the initial phases of project development. The analysis protocol considers commercial vehicles, privately owned vehicles, and transit buses. Different steps in both the northbound and southbound crossing process are accounted for, such as queuing on the approaches to inspection booths, and the delay associated with secondary inspections. The analysis protocol estimates how traffic characteristics affect emissions. It does not model how individual strategies affect the traffic itself; the analyst needs to provide relevant traffic data with and without the implementation of strategies being considered to alter the traffic flows or delay.

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 other policies that effect travel behavior, can be evaluated to the extent that changes in delay can be estimated through traffic operations analysis.

2.3 Further Considerations

This white paper and analysis template has been constructed using the El Paso/Juarez region as the basis for research and examples. However, the approach used for the analysis is intended to be applicable along the entire U.S.-Mexico border. Transferability of the methods to other regions along the border is discussed in Section 4.3 of this document. The base components of the analysis can be used to reflect emissions from vehicle activity and delay, regardless of the size of the POE and surrounding community, the specifics of the port of entry, or the emission factor model used to estimate emission rates.

Task 3 encompassed all the technical components of the project scope. The Task 3 work products, available separately, provide emission rates from the U.S. EPA MOVES2010a model representing the El Paso/Juarez region for a variety of conditions and years. The attached Task 3 work products also include technical guidance on the extrapolation of those emission rates to other areas. Additionally, the technical guidance provides resources that will help in the application of the MOVES, MOBILE6-Mexico, or EMFAC for any region along the border that may be necessary.

Updated: 10/20/2015
HEP Home Planning Environment Real Estate
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000