BPRI gets 49K to conduct field research on wait times and lane reconfiguration at the border

Western Today staff

The Border Policy Research Institute at Western Washington University has received $49,000 in funding to conduct field research on wait times and lane reconfiguration at the border.

In collaboration with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Canada Border Services Agency, the BC Ministry of Transportation, Washington State Department of Transportation, and Whatcom Council of Governments, the BPRI will collect and analyze data on wait times as part of a pilot to examine alternative use of the dedicated Free and Secure Trade (FAST) truck lane at the Blaine port-of-entry.

Use of the FAST lane is minimal, causing stakeholders and border officials to question the continued dedicated use of a valuable highway lane. Discussion of this issue has been a part of the formal dialogue that is being conducted between the Governor of Washington and the Premier of B.C.

In this project, the BPRI first will monitor the existing lane configuration. The lane will then be reconfigured for general-purpose use. The BPRI will then measure the performance of the new configuration and report upon its efficacy. The project is the latest component of a thread of research that began in 2009, when the BPRI funded and staffed a field data collection effort, together with a modeling analysis of alternate uses of the FAST lane.

Based on that BPRI report, U.S. Customs has proposed this pilot project. The field effort will occur between Feb. 22 and April 14, 2011, with funding provided by the Washington State Department of Transportation.

WWU’s Border Policy Research Institute is a multi-disciplinary research institute focused on policy research dealing with transportation, mobility and security issues affecting the Canada-U.S. border. Western established the BPRI to further its mission of promoting research, academic programs and public programming on critical policy issues affecting the Pacific Northwest region and Canada.