Building a Master Road Network for Paso del Norte
In fiscal year 2013, researchers with CIITR recommended a combination of methods and technologies for creating a transportation master-road network and traffic analysis for the Paso del Norte region. An integrated road network would be compatible with the various modeling platforms used by other transportation professionals in the field. Working with reliable and updated information, the integrated road network would improve regional and local travel-demand estimations, ensuring a better utilization of both, time and resources. For fiscal year 2014, researchers determined the best way to develop a regional Origin-Destination (O-D) matrix that complemented the master road network. In order to do so, the research team conducted a literature review and an analysis on the various origin-destination data collection techniques. They considered the cost, advantages and disadvantages of each method. The researchers determined that the most appropriate methods include a combination of traffic counts, information from local travel demand models and the use of computer based iterative O-D calibration tools.
For more information contact David Galicia at (915) 532-3759 or [email protected].
Increasing the Trusted Shipper Program at the Border
Since “trusted shipper programs” (C-TPAT, FAST And NEEC ) were established several years ago, participants have experienced reduced border wait times and improved just-in-time inventory delivery reliability. Established jointly by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and its Mexican counterpart, Aduana, trusted shipper status was granted to shippers who met pre-approved security criteria. Their cargo travels in a secure supply chain and is pre-screened, resulting in fewer inspections and reductions in border crossing times. Even so, some companies choose not to join the programs. To find out why, researchers conducted a survey among manufacturers, assembly plants, customs brokers, importers, logistics providers and transportation companies. The survey revealed the reasons why some of the companies do not join trusted shipper programs, and the researchers recommended several ways membership can be increased. Among the recommendations, researchers suggest the establishment of a strategic plan that gains access to the leaders and decision-makers of manufactures to explain the benefits of joining the trusted shipper programs. Companies were also encouraged to form a partnership with public- and private-information providers to help decision-makers better understand the benefits of joining trusted shipper programs.
Investigating New Detectors for Border Traffic Counts
The quest continues for a cost-effective, reliable way to count the thousands of cars and trucks that cross the border between the U.S. and Mexico every day. Although counting vehicles may seem like an easy process, traffic counts are sometimes unreliable because of the stop-and-go environments typical at border crossings. In fiscal year 2013, researchers examined two products in their ongoing study examining the technologies best suited to measure traffic volumes in a border-crossing setting. One product being tested is a laser scanner that measures the distance from the device to the vehicle. Another product being studied is a pavement-mounted micro-radar inserted into a four-inch pavement core, about two inches deep. The radar unit faces traffic and is able to count the vehicles that pass by. A final report is being prepared on the products that have been tested. Researchers will include recommendations based on which products and technologies that worked the best.
For more information contact Dan Middleton at (979) 317-2826 or [email protected].
Making Reliable Border Crossing Time Predictions
With the use of historical and current real-time data, researchers have developed statistical prediction models that are being used to determine how long it will take for commercial vehicles to cross the Texas-Mexico border. The prediction model project has its roots in the 2009 installation of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology devices at the Bridge of the Americas. The devices measure wait and crossing times for commercial vehicles. As of July 2014, RFID readers are supplying the wait- and crossing-time data from seven ports of entry (POEs) and that data is used at the Border Crossing Information System (BCIS) website, located at http://bcis.tamu.edu/Commercial/en-US/index.aspx. Because each POE is unique, researchers customized algorithms and performed sensitivity analysis in order to fine-tune the accuracy of the prediction models. As a result of this project, the crossing times used on the BCIS website are forecast up to one hour in advance. Separately, researchers are building a prototype web dashboard designed to test the quality of their prediction models.
For more information contact Don Kang at (979) 317-2465 or [email protected].
Restoring the Presidio International Freight Rail Crossing
For more than six years, the international freight-rail crossing at Presidio has been closed following a bridge fire. The Presidio/Ojinaga crossing, though traditionally low in traffic, was one of only eight rail border crossing areas between the U.S. and Mexico. Plans are underway to replace the bridge late in 2015; however, the benefits that might come from reopening the crossing are largely unknown. Owned by the Texas Department of Transportation, the 391 miles of track from Presidio to San Angelo Junction are operated by the Texas Pacifico Railroad. In a white paper, researchers examined the issues in light of the recent oil and gas production in West Texas and the improved sections of the rail line from Sulphur Junction (a few miles north of Fort Stockton) and San Angelo, allowing for increased rail speeds. Among the issues, the paper addresses the potential impacts of a reopened Presidio/Ojinaga crossing on the existing rail traffic flows, the need for additional customs inspection facilities and the potential for rail-served industry development in the region.
For more information contact Curtis Morgan at (979) 317-2562 or [email protected].
Technical, Institutional and Financial Structuring of the Corredor Pacifico Project
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) hired the consulting services of Castalia-TTI partnership to recommend a technical, institutional and financial framework for the implementation of the project Corredor Pacífico (CP), as well as an action plan for implementing the recommended structure, a regional integration project aimed at developing a 2,700-kilometer highway corridor from Panama to Puebla (Mexico) as a Public-Private Partnership (PPP). To achieve this goal, Castalia and TTI first evaluated the existing technical, institutional and financial resources previously developed by the IDB and complemented these studies with recommended strategies and necessary analysis for a successful implementation of the Corridor. TTI was responsible for leading the technical component of the project, which included:
- independent assessment of transport and traffic demand
- independent assessment of project costs, and
- develop an action plan and scope of work for future preliminary technical studies.
Based on the preliminary assessment, CIITR researchers developed a three-stage implementation plan for the financial, institutional and technical structuring of the Corredor Pacifico PPP. The plan included the necessary studies; preliminary structuring and additional steps to follow; project duration recommendations; estimated costs; and suggested leading institutions for the successful completion of each stage.
For more information contact Rafael Aldrete at (915) 532-3759 or [email protected].