Booth Status Data Integration Project
This project enhanced the southbound advanced traveler information system (ATIS) at the four Cascade Gateway ports-of-entry by integrating booth status data to improve the accuracy of southbound border wait time estimates for travelers entering the United States.
BC Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure (BCMOTI) has a southbound border wait time system that stretches across all four ports-of-entry between the Lower Mainland, BC and Whatcom County, WA.
Why this project was needed
Prior to 2010, designated NEXUS approach lanes went to one dedicated NEXUS processing
booth at the Peace Arch and Pacific Highway Ports-of-Entry. This allowed the ATIS to calculate NEXUS wait times separately. This is necessary because NEXUS lanes typically process traffic at a different rate than the general lanes, and a different algorithm is applied to calculate wait times.
However the redesign of the Peace Arch port-of-entry in 2010 provided dynamic booth systems; LED signage above each booth, as well as RFID reader technology at every booth. This allows U.S. Customs
& Border Protection (CBP) to operate any booth (or multiple booths) as a NEXUS or Ready
This improvement to border management has had a positive impact on the overall flow and
queue management for the port-of-entry. However it introduced a need for more
information to maintain accuracy of the southbound wait time system. When a lane is assumed
by the delay system to be standard, and instead it is processing NEXUS cars, the wait time
system will over-estimate the standard departure rate and thus under-estimate the wait time for
the port. Calculations show that the system can report a fifty percent error as a result of a single
extra lane being designated as NEXUS.
In order to make the southbound ATIS as dynamic as the real border environment, an
additional dataset was needed to inform the system in real time what type of traffic is being
processed at each booth.
In 2010, through the International Mobility & Trade Corridor Program (IMTC), the Whatcom Council of Governments (WCOG) worked with U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) to determine if a dataset of booth status information could be extracted from their vehicle primary client software (VPC) used at the booths. In 2014, CBP began providing a live data feed that is available via XML.
In 2016, binational funding was sought to tie the live booth status data feed from CBP to the BCMOTI system, and to make sure these data are archived in the regional Cascade Gateway Border Data Warehouse (www.cascadegatewaydata.com). The project was completed in 2017 and successfully developed a new method for calculating wait times using the booth status feed from CBP.
Funding & Partnerships
This project was funded by:
- U.S. Federal Highway Administration: $60,550
- B.C. Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure: $17,500