Great Lakes Regional Transportation Operations Coalition

FHWA Targets Border Congestion with Technology

From Transportation.gov

To reduce delays at U.S. border crossings in New York, Michigan and Washington, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration today awarded $256,470 for the use of innovative new technology that will provide information on wait times at border crossings and help manage delay by giving truckers advance notice of crossing conditions.

“We are working towards creative solutions to border congestion, that can stifle commerce and negatively impact our economy,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Accurate travel information will be a powerful tool in improving the flow of goods across these borders – supporting the freight economy, including U.S. businesses that rely on efficient trade.”

FHWA’s Border Wait Time Deployment Initiative is designed to accelerate the adoption of innovative technology, such as sensors, to measure delay and wait times at land border ports of entry. The program supports the collection and dissemination of real-time traveler information to improve the reliability of goods movement across these borders.

Under the initiative, FHWA will help expand the successful efforts at the Lewiston-Queenston and Peace Bridges which span the U.S./Canada border by providing $100,000 to the New York State Department of Transportation for its Niagara Falls International Rainbow Bridge.

FHWA will also fund technology at the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel Crossing with a $95,920 grant to the Michigan Department of Transportation. Building on the success of the Evergreen State’s North Cascades Gateway, FHWA will award $60,550 to the Whatcom Council of Governments (WCOG) in Whatcom County, Wash., for the Booth Integration project. All of these research projects will use dynamic message signs and advance traveler information systems to convey the border wait times.

“These grants present an opportunity to improve freight movement and productivity by allowing businesses to transport their goods across the border more efficiently,” FHWA Administrator Gregory Nadeau said. “Our nation needs a strong freight system to compete in the global economy and meet the needs of consumers and industry.”

The projects are in line with the U.S. and Canada “Beyond the Border” initiative to improve the flow of goods and services between the two countries. In recent years, trucker wait time and unexpected delays have been identified as an impediment to the free flow across the border, and the FHWA has undertaken several research initiatives aimed at measuring border delays at major land-border crossings. According to the Department’s draft report, Beyond Traffic, approximately 10 million trucks moved more than 13 billion tons of freight across America’s highways in 2012. It is estimated that by 2040, freight volume will grow to 29 billion tons—an increase of 45 percent. Assuming Canada and Mexico continue to lead the list of US trading partners, much of this growth will impact US border crossings.