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Trade and Traffic Data Subcommittee

The Trade and Traffic Data Subcommittee was formed in Spring 2003 to take a multi-jurisdictional approach to the identification of various data needs, and to explore opportunities to work collaboratively on data collection activities.  There have been several bi-national meetings (usually held in conjunction with TBWG plenary meetings) a Border Data Workshop (held in October 2003) and numerous conference calls.  Subcommittee activities are coordinated by an overarching steering committee, which is currently chaired by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration. We have also established several smaller working subcommittees that were tasked with taking charge of the outcomes of the Border Data Workshop and developing various products/joint activities.  

Most recently, efforts have been concentrated on the Border Survey subcommittee, and on the Border Survey Initiative in conjunction with the 2006 National Roadside Survey (NRS) that is being conducted in Canada. The Border Survey technical subcommittee has been meeting periodically in order to build bi-national consensus on the various Border Survey components. We are working collectively on this effort in order to build partnerships and to address several of our data needs.

Results from the Border Data Workshop, Port Huron 2003

The Border Data Workshop was conducted under the auspices of the TBWG with the sponsorship of the U.S. Federal Highway Administration and Transport Canada. Over 40 people from transportation departments, inspection agencies, and consultants participated in the two-day workshop.

The workshop identified five potential needs for quality data, including the following:

  • Contributing to infrastructure decision-making
  • Enabling contingency planning (e.g. if a crossing were to close)
  • Controlling flow at crossings (i.e. opening more booths, directing traffic to other crossings)
  • Aiding in increasing predictability of crossing performance
  • Influencing economic decision-making processes

Common to all these needs were the notions of standardization and bilateral collection and the need to collect data at the crossing level (rather than aggregated “port” level now done at some locations).

The workshop breakout groups also had very similar data priorities, as follows:

  1. Counts: Frequent, shared information
  2. Origin/Destination: Consistent tracking and reporting to multiple levels
  3. Routing: Source with the whole picture
  4. Commodity Attributes:  Includes Weight and Value data
  5. Congestion/Delays (Performance Measures): Measure and improve the efficiency of process and reporting of delay

There were several areas that could be grouped together. Thus, four subcommittees were created to concentrate on the following activities (which cover the above data priorities):

  • Border Survey
  • Traffic counts/classification/weights (using various technology)
  • Delay/congestion: explore potential data collection options
  • Explore opportunities with ITDS/ACE (US inspection databases)

Summary actions for the various subcommittees (updated Oct 2005):

Border Survey: The Border Survey component has a binational technical working group that was formed to discuss the developments of the survey mechanism and various issues/activities in conjunction to conducting a commercial vehicle intercept survey at the border. This is in conjunction with the activities associated with the NRS being conducted in Canada. There have been several pilot activities associated with the NRS that tested the software, technology interfaces, and data results. The border survey component is slated to begin sometime in 2006.

Traffic Counts/Classifications/Weights: Several of these initiatives have been pulled into the activities associated with the NRS and Border Survey. We will continue to explore various technological opportunities for various data collection components.

Delays/Congestion: Several potential data collection activities have been documented for this initiative. This builds on several efforts that various members of the TBWG have been working on, and potentially can be combined with activities under the umbrella of the Border Information Flow Architecture. Further discussions need to occur on the opportunities to develop a bi-national TBWG working group to explore implementation of the technology.

ITDS/ACE: We are still progressing this option, but it has taken time to work through several oversight/access issues in relationship to this data source. Within the U.S. Department of Transportation, Research and Innovative Technologies Administration (RITA) has the lead role for this activity. The U.S. Federal Highway Administration continues to work closely with RITA on this activity. Note: Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) is now part of RITA.

Additional sources of data include the data contained on the BTS website.

Border Data Workshop, Detroit Metro, Michigan - June 2008

A border data workshop was held by the Trade and Traffic Data Subcommittee. The session was a follow-up to the 2003 workshop in Port Huron, MI. The meeting consisted of two and a half days of presentations and break-out sessions. Below, you will find links to the agenda, presentations, and final summary report.

For further information contact the Co-Leads:

David Franklin, U.S. Federal Highway Administration (202-366-4074 or

Rob Tardif, Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (416-585-7320 or