Border Policy Brief
With respect to cross-border passenger travel at Blaine, Washington (the I-5 corridor), two things were evident in the aftermath of 9/11—the volume of travel dropped dramatically, and the at-booth inspection process became more time-consuming. The combined effect was that wait-times remained roughly comparable to what existed pre-9/11, despite traffic volumes that were 25 percent lower. The constant worry, though, was “How will we cope when traffic volumes climb?” For eight years regional stakeholders pursued initiatives intended to reduce wait-times, even as traffic volumes languished at an average volume of about 215,000 cars per month. The tail end of that eight-year period is seen in the left half of Figure 1, and the long-anticipated resurgence of traffic is evident in the right half, dating roughly from autumn 2009. In the first ten months of 2011 (highlighted in the figure), traffic reached an average level of 358,000 cars per month, a level not observed since 1997. The vast majority of those travelers were Canadian residents.
1 - Winter
BPRI, "Is RFID the Answer to Resurgent Border Traffic?" (2012). Border Policy Research Institute Publications. 20.