Office of Operations
21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Organizing for TSMO
Case Study 12: Border Crossings

Chapter 3 - Summary

Agencies with border crossings face many of the same challenges as other agencies (freight management, management of delay, and management of intelligent transportation systems [ITS] devices); however, they face added complexities since collaboration must be done across international boundaries and they must communicate with significantly more federal and local organizations. Both agencies interviewed for this case study saw this as an opportunity and had several key lessons learned that support the advancement of their TSMO programs:

  • Consistent traveler information regarding international border delays, available through multiple sources (online, overhead dynamic message signs, or through routing applications) can help manage delay and distribute crossing locations. International collaboration is critical to provide accurate information. Neighboring agencies should agree on how this data is analyzed and data should be shared to improve cohesive and consistent information to both internal and external stakeholders.
  • Border crossings can be bottlenecks, so valuing this facility as a core element of the transportation system can improve mobility. Similar to other facilities, attention to operation and maintenance supplied with innovative, flexible, and dynamic solutions is required. International agreements for deploying ITS should provide specific guidance on which nation is responsible for installing, operating, and maintaining equipment. Discussing and understanding the associated benefit to cost can prove the value for stakeholders and support expanding TSMO programming.
  • Close collaboration with regional partners, both foreign and domestic, is valuable for the success of TSMO activities. Regularly scheduled committee meetings with international participants will foster relationships and encourage conversations that may not have occurred otherwise. Maintaining open lines of communication and addressing national border crossing policy, as needed, will help when deploying new technology or solving challenges that arise on the border.

National policy, varying agency policies, and data interoperability are just a few of the hurdles transportation agencies must overcome to improve travel conditions near and across international borders. Open and regular communication, international arrangements, and frequent collaboration on projects and activities are actions that have been essential to collaborative improvement of border crossing wait times, provision of accurate information to the public, improvement of freight travel conditions, national security, and more. The best practices highlighted in this case study are specific to challenges faced at international borders. However, agencies near State borders can consider how similar actions can mitigate challenges and provide benefits for their regions as well.

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