FORT ERIE, Ont. – New technology is to be installed at the Peace and Queenston-Lewiston Bridges to make for faster border crossings, Canada’s attorney general, Rob Nicholson, announced yesterday.
"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, also the long-time MP for Niagara Falls. "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, according to Ottawa. 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.
“The opening of new bridges, like the one for Windsor-Detroit, and additional truck lanes are critical to the ability of Canadian manufacturers to ensure that their goods can get to their U.S. customers on time. The promise of future electronic highway signs that will provide real time delays at the two major Niagara crossings will provide certain carriers with real options to avoid costly delays at the Niagara,” said Stephen Laskowski, senior vice president, Canadian Trucking Alliance.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance membership had been working with Transport Canada for several years trying to identify various ways to utilize current technology adopted by the trucking industry to provide real time data on border delays.
"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."
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.
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