The field operational test involving the Ambassador Bridge Border Crossing System (ABBCS) was intended to demonstrate the ability of ITS technology to improve safe and legal border crossings between the U.S. and Canada. The Ambassador Bridge international border crossing is located between Detroit, Michigan (USA), and Windsor, Ontario (Canada). Approximately 27 percent of all merchandise trade between the U.S. and Canada crosses this bridge. In 1998, the daily volume of commercial traffic crossing the bridge each way averaged 5,800 trucks. The maximum capacity of the bridge is 5,000 vehicles per hour and currently is carrying about half that during peak hours.
The ABBCS project was to develop and demonstrate a system that would allow pre-processed vehicles, trade goods, and commuters to pass through the border checkpoints with expedited processing. The system was to identify trucks, crews, cargo, and commuter vehicles, and quickly process them using electronic toll payment systems.
The potential to reduce queue lengths during peak periods was demonstrated using a simulation model. The model simulated ABBCS lane assignments. It used a four-lane configuration where all lanes were mixed-use (all lanes are equipped with the system and are open to all traffic). The simulation showed a 50 percent reduction in the time required for an equipped truck to enter the lane heading the customs station and then exit. However, this configuration could negate some incentives for participating in the program, because any differential in time between equipped and non-equipped trucks is eliminated. The simulation also showed that as the percentage of equipped trucks increases, benefits are more pronounced.
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