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Measuring Border Wait Time at Land Ports of Entry: Technology Assessment and Data Dissemination Juan Villa, Texas A&M Transportation Institute


Final Report


Over five million vehicles drive across the United States-Mexico border every year. Border wait times at land ports of entry are an important measurement of port performance, trade, and regional competitiveness. A reliable and systematic method of measuring border wait times is needed in order to make better operations and staffing decisions at land ports of entry (POEs). New emerging technologies such as GPS, Blockchain, and the connected vehicle would allow a more accurate estimation of border crossing and wait times. This research project analyzes current border wait time measurement operation and maintenance practices, finalizes installation of RFID equipment at one of the largest commercial vehicle (CV) crossing in the U.S./Mexico border at the California Otay Mesa border crossing, identifies improvements to privately-owned vehicles (POVs) wait time measurement practices, and analyzes emerging technologies for dynamic vehicle wait time reporting.

The outcomes of this research project include recommendations to improve the existing border crossing time measurement projects and the feasibility of using emerging technologies in the future.  During the course of the project, border wait time information from all existing border crossings will be shared with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in a timely manner to feed the CBP Border Crossing Time website and mobile app. 

The methodology includes a mix of theoretical and practical tasks that will lead to recommendations of the implementation of a more accurate, fast and reliable border crossing time measuring system.  DHS and particularly CBP will benefit by having reliable and systematic information from major CV POEs and recommendations for future improvements to the CV and POV crossing time measurement systems using emerging technologies.

Project Goal and Objectives

The main goals of this research project are to improve the border crossing wait time measuring system, and analyze emerging technologies to strengthen the system capabilities to provide accurate border crossing times for CVs and POVs.

The specific objectives are the following:

Objective 1: Analyze current system operation and maintenance practices

Objective 2: Finalize Installation of RFID Equipment at Otay Mesa border crossings

Objective 3: Identify improvements to POV border wait time measurement

Objective 4: Research emerging technologies for dynamic vehicle wait time reporting

Objective 5: Overhaul the current border wait time measurement system software

Resources and Links

Kickoff Meeting | Presentation