Knowledge CentreTechnical Resources SearchConference PapersImproving the Flow of People, Goods, and Services Across International Boundaries

Improving the Flow of People, Goods, and Services Across International Boundaries


The United States (U.S.) and Canada have long maintained the world’s largest bilateral trading relationship, with an estimated US$1.5 billion in trade per day in 2005. Trade between the U.S. and Canada creates over 5.2 million jobs in the U.S. In addition, by these border crossings merely functioning, employment opportunities in tourism, shopping, real estate, customs, immigration, and construction are created. Almost all of this trade takes place at surface crossings, with trucks (versus rail) carrying the predominant share (83% by trade value), particularly in the eastern U.S. and Canada. An increase in truck traffic, combined with passenger traffic, an aging border infrastructure, and changing policies and practices, has raised concerns that border crossings impede this trade and result in lose of jobs, particularly after the tragic events of 9/11. This paper explores many new programs that have been implemented, or are envisioned, to expedite the safe and secure flow of goods and persons crossing the border. It looks at the function of the border crossing and the impact technology will have on its infrastructure. It also provides an overview for planning border crossings as a system rather than just an isolated Port Of Entry. The purpose of technology is to inform the public of travel conditions and delays, to protect traveler safety on the approaches, and to implement new inspection programs to address security issues while separating low-risk goods and persons from those that pose higher risks. This document also identifies how these changing processes and use of technology affect the Port Of Entry design, size, and layout, as well as the additional infrastructure needs on the approaches to these Ports Of Entry to implement many of these practices. The information and recommendations found within this paper are based on Stantec Consulting Services’ experiences over the past 17 years in conducting border crossing studies, preparing Port Of Entry designs, and continuous involvement with various border crossing organizations and agencies that are responsible for the operations at the border, as well as those responsible for the approaches or systems that serve them in both the U.S. and Canada. Finally, this paper provides the basic principles and measurements necessary to understand and address the various issues for design professionals working to improve operations or to design new border crossings.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Holthoff, W.C
Environmental issues