The International Mobility and Trade Corridor Program

FAST Enhancements

Status: Completed in 2012

Overview

This project looked at ways to best provide expedited service to FAST program participants while maximizing existing infrastructure and operations to lessen wait times for all commercial vehicles.

Location

This project specifically focused on southbound commercial vehicles crossing at the Pacific Highway Port-of-Entry off B.C. Highway 15 and WA State Route 543.

Why this project was needed

When the Free and Secure Trade Program (FAST), managed by U.S. Customs & Border Protection and the Canada Border Services Agency to provide expedited processing to enrolled users, was first provided at the Pacific Highway crossing, specialized lanes were built for program participants to access a FAST-dedicated primary booth at U.S. and Canadian ports-of-entry.

However given the limitations of existing infrastructure at the ports, the small percentage of commercial loads that qualify for FAST lane utilization, and the need to address mounting wait times, this project examined ways to best manage existing facilities for optimal safety and throughput.

Results

The Border Policy Research Institute of Western Washington University developed a model based on data collected by the BPRI, Whatcom Council of Governments, and U.S. Customs & Border Protection. Model results showed that a substantial decrease in general commercial vehicle wait-time could be achieved by opening the designated FAST booth to all traffic. A pilot project was conducted in 2011 and results measured against pre-pilot averages, proving the accuracy of the model. The changes were subsequently made permanent.

In 2012 efforts to return some time-savings benefits to FAST participants were undertaken by B.C. Ministry of Transportation and U.S. Customs & Border Protection, redesigning the truck staging area at the southbound port-of-entry and providing quicker access to the booths for FAST trucks. This project continues to operate under observation.

Also in 2012 the WA State Department of Transportation worked with BPRI to model northbound FAST lane movements and determine if similar time savings may be availed into Canada.

Funding & Partnerships

Research – southbound

Southbound truck access improvements

Research – northbound