Canada and the U.S. launch new technology to reduce border wait times

FORT ERIE, ONTARIO — The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., Member of Parliament for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, on behalf of the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, today announced the installation of new technology at the Peace and Queenston-Lewiston Bridges to help people cross the border faster.

"Canada and the United States are taking action to promote the safe, secure and efficient movement of people and goods across the border," said Minister Nicholson. "This technology will make cross-border travel easier and facilitate trade by providing reliable, up-to-date information to help drivers plan and choose the fastest crossing."

New and advanced sensor technology near customs plazas and approach roads will measure and report delays, and relay this information to travellers. People will be able to plan their routes better, time their crossing, and select the bridge with the best wait-times.

"While driving to the border, we naturally wonder whether it will be faster to cross at Fort Erie or Queenston," said Minister Nicholson. "With this new technology, accurate, up-to-the-minute crossing times will be posted well before you reach the border."

This new system is expected to reduce border wait times for the travelling public and commercial carriers by up to one million hours per year. Up-to-date information on the Peace Bridge and Queenston-Lewiston Bridge websites will help drivers to plan and save money on fuel by avoiding congestion.

"This technology demonstrates significant progress on behalf of the Beyond the Border Action Plan by updating critical infrastructure at our ports and enhancement of the border-crossing experience for travelers," said Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner David Aguilar. "This latest example of US-Canadian collaboration demonstrates our nations' partnership to ensure continued economic competitiveness."

"Freight movement is essential to commerce and a healthy economy," said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. "This technology will help U.S. businesses move their goods and products more efficiently across the border to help grow our national economy and create jobs."

This project supports commitments under the Beyond the Border Action Plan announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama on December 7, 2011. Under this Plan, Canada and the U.S. committed to reduce, eliminate and prevent barriers to cross-border trade and travel and install border wait time measurement technology at the top 20 land crossings.

The border wait time technology will also:

  • Help border agencies better manage traffic volume by providing reliable information for planning purposes.
  • Ensure more efficient border operations by allowing border agencies to focus resources on security.
  • Reduce environmental impacts by decreasing vehicle emissions from border congestion and delays.

"Border wait time measurement technology will improve accessibility across the border, increase efficiency at ports and enhance service levels," said the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety. "By implementing border wait time technology at these ports of entry, travellers and commercial drivers will receive information to help them decide when and where to cross the border".

This project was completed in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Canada Border Services Agency and Transport Canada. 

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