Irritable border syndrome: the impact of security on travel across the Canada-U.S. border.

Author:Bradbury, Susan L.
Position::P. 32-61 - Report
 
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Table 9 Paired t-test analysis and results. Peace Arch Before After Average wait time 11.55 6.96 Maximum wait time 30.32 15.32 Minimum wait time 2.68 1.51 Standard deviation 7.29 5.02 t value -2.58 p value 22, .05 1.717 Not Significant p value 22, .01 2.508 Not Significant It should be noted that the average border wait time declined at the same time the amount of traffic through the port was starting to increase. However, a new Canadian port-of-entry facility began construction in August 2007. (7) Although the facility was not officially opened until August 2009, many of the improvements were completed and in operation by September 2008. The new facility expanded the number of primary processing lanes from seven to ten, increasing the overall inspection capacity of the facility (Canada Border Services Agency 2009d). The impact of the construction of this facility on average border wait time can be clearly seen on Figure 12. During construction the average border wait time increased but once construction was completed the wait time dropped significantly. In addition to the new facility the Advanced Traveler Information System (ATIS) was put in place at Peace Arch and Pacific Highway in 2007. The ATIS consists of signage that provides travelers with wait times at the two ports and thus helps to distribute traffic more efficiently between the two facilities, which are located approximately one mile apart (Whatcom Council of Governments, 2007).

Peace Arch is a rather unique case study due to the fact that more data exists for this crossing than for the others in this study. The Whatcom Council of Governments (WCOG) maintains a comprehensive data set, the Cascade Gateway Border Data, for the four crossings commonly referred to as the Cascade Gateways, consisting of Peace Arch, Pacific Highway, Sumas-Huntingdon and Lynden-Aldergrove. This data set includes border wait time data for cars and trucks traveling in both directions as well as traffic volumes, number of vehicles in the queue, queue length and service rate at each of the four ports (Whatcom Council of Governments, 2012). As a result, this data set allows for the average border wait time to be examined for traffic going in both directions, northbound to Canada as well as southbound to the U.S. This data can be seen in Figure 12 for the Peace Arch. As Figure 12 shows, the average border wait time for southbound vehicles crossing into the U.S. is significantly greater than for those vehicles traveling northbound to Canada (see Table 10). The average border wait time for vehicles entering the U.S. at Peace Arch is 11.7 minutes compared to 8.4 minutes for vehicles entering Canada (see Table 10) between August 2003 and December 2009.

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Table 10 Peace Arch North to Canada South to U.S. Peace Arch North to Canada South to U.S. Average wait time 8.4 11.7 Maximum wait time 30.32 34.74 Minimum wait time 1.51 0 Standard deviation 5.61 7.43 t value 3.11 p value 77. .05 1.67 Significant p value 77, .01 2.39 Significant However, there are some problems with the data. For instance, no data is available for a four-month period for southbound vehicles between December 2007 and March 2008 (Whatcom Council of Governments, 2012). In addition, construction began on a new U.S. port facility in August 2007 and continued for the next several years (Whatcom Council of Governments, 2010b). Construction on the new facility was mostly completed by February 2010, in time for the Vancouver Olympics (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2010). All construction was completed by December 2010 and the new facility was officially opened in March 2011 (U.S. General Services Administration, 2011). As a result, we cannot tell if the higher average border wait time observed for southbound vehicles during 2008 and 2009 is due to the implementation of the WHTI, construction delays, or to a combination of both.

Limited data is also available from WCOG that provides some insight as to the benefits associated with the NEXUS program (Whatcom Council of Governments, 2012). (8) Figure 13 shows the average border wait time for southbound vehicles crossing into the U.S. for NEXUS and non-NEXUS vehicles for the time period April 2008 to June 2010. The average border wait time for NEXUS vehicles is significantly lower at 3.8 minutes compared to 17.3 minutes for non-NEXUS vehicles (see Table 11). Figure 14 shows the average border wait time for northbound vehicles crossing into Canada for NEXUS and non-NEXUS vehicles. The average border wait time for NEXUS vehicles is significantly lower at .56 minutes compared to 4.9 minutes for non-NEXUS vehicles (see Table 11).

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Table 11 Peace Arch Northbound to Canada Southbound to U.S. Peace Northbound Southbound Arch to Canada to U.S. NEXUS Non-NEXUS NEXUS Non-NEXUS Average 0.56 4.9 3.8 17.3 wail lime Maximum 2.64 12.67 9.63 37.13 wait lime Minimum 0 0.41 1.04 4.19 wait lime Standard 1.2 3.35 1.96 6.78 deviation t value 5.95 9.99 p value 1.714 Significant 1.706 Significant 29, .05 p value 2.5 Significant 2.479 Significant 23. .01 More southbound travelers seem to utilize the NEXUS lanes than northbound travelers, with approximately 42,000 vehicles per month using the southbound NEXUS lane in comparison to approximately 31,000 vehicles using the northbound NEXUS lane per month at Peace Arch. Thus, NEXUS lanes handle 34.1 percent of the vehicle traffic traveling southbound to the U.S. compared to 26.2 percent of the vehicles traveling northbound to Canada. This result is hardly surprising given that there is a much greater benefit in terms of time saved when utilizing the NEXUS lanes traveling southbound.

This limited study demonstrates the potential benefit associated with the NEXUS program. Clearly, more expanded research is needed. Data limitations will need to be overcome in order make this research possible. In addition, it is curious to note that 43 percent of all NEXUS card holders live in the Pacific Northwest/British Columbia Mainland region (Whatcom Council of Governments, 2010a). While an extensive marketing campaign along with the considerable time savings associated with the program in this region may help to explain this, nonetheless the NEXUS program is not uniformly embraced across the country.

CASE 5--RAINBOW BRIDGE

The Rainbow Bridge is the fifth busiest crossing, accounting for 5.2 percent of all auto traffic across the border. It connects Niagara Falls, New York with Niagara Falls, Ontario and in doing so offers a view of Niagara Falls, which makes it popular with tourists. Opened in 1941, the bridge spans the Niagara River and contains four lanes, two flowing in either direction. Like Peace Arch, this port only handles passenger vehicles and connects Highway 420 and the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) in Ontario with 1-190 and 1-90 in New York. The Niagara Falls Bridge Commission operates the Rainbow Bridge, and also oversees two other bridges, the Queenston-Lewiston and the Whirlpool Bridge. Fourteen auto primary inspection lanes/booths exist at the Canadian plaza and seventeen are located at the U.S. plaza (Transport Canada, 2005a). The NEXUS program was implemented at the Rainbow Bridge in June 2003 with the installation of NEXUS lanes/booths available in either direction. The NEXUS participation rate is relatively low at this port, reported to be just 1.4 percent (Transport Canada, 2005a). Figure 15 shows the number of automobiles entering Canada at the Rainbow Bridge. The number of vehicles peaked in 1998 at 2.1 million automobiles (Statistics Canada, 2010). This number varied considerably between 1999 and 2002 before declining again to 1.34 million automobiles in 2009.

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Figure 16 shows the average border wait time for personal vehicles crossing at the Rainbow Bridge. Comparing the average border wait time before and after the implementation of the WHTI indicates that the average border wait time for personal vehicles increased from .85 minutes to 1.49 minutes (Canada Border Services Agency, 2009b), a significant increase (see Table 12).

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Table 12 Paired t-test analysis and results. Rainbow Bridge Before After Average wait time 0.85 1.49 Maximum wait time 3.59 3.77 Minimum wait time 0 0.2 Standard deviation 1.24 0.98 t value 3.081 P value 22, .05 1.717 Significant P value 22, .01 2.508 Significant CASE 6--QUEENSTON-LEWISTON BRIDGE

The Queenston-Lewiston Bridge is the sixth busiest crossing, accounting for 5.1 percent of all auto traffic across the northern border. It connects Lewiston, New York with Queenston, Ontario. Built in 1962, the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge connects I-190 in New York with Highway 405 and the QEW in Canada. The bridge capacity was increased to five instead of four lanes of traffic in 2005. The lanes can be adjusted to accommodate the direction of the heaviest traffic (Deloitte, 2011). Six auto primary inspection lanes/ booths exist at the Canadian plaza and seven are located at the U.S. plaza (Transport Canada, 2005a). Figure 17 shows the number of automobiles entering Canada at the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge. The number of vehicles peaked in 1997 at 1.9 million automobiles and declined by 28.7 percent to 1.34 million by 2009.

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Figure 18 shows the average border wait time for personal vehicles crossing at the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge. Comparing the average border wait time before and after the implementation of the WHTI indicates that the average border wait time for personal vehicles increased from 3.19 minutes to 7.33 minutes (Canada Border Services Agency 2009b). Once again this was at a time when the amount of traffic through the port was declining.

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Table 13 Paired t-test analysis and results. Queenston-Lewiston Bridge Before After Average wait time 3.19 7.33 Maximum wait time 14.59 20.44 Minimum wait time 0.01 1.13 Standard deviation 3.82 4.81 t value 4.55 p value 22, .05 1.717 Significant p value...

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