Nogales UCP Air Quality Analysis

Photo courtesy of Crossborder Group

Project Overview

With over a half-trillion dollars in crossborder trade annually between the U.S. and Mexico–and over 70% of this trade handled by truck–this intensity of crossborder freight transportation has a significant air quality impact in border communities, where trucks often idle their engines for hours as they wait in line to be inspected by U.S. and Mexican officials.

In 2016, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Mexico’s Aduanas began a joint inspection program (the Unified Cargo Processing, or UCP, program) at the Nogales-Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales, Arizona. While the program was focused on providing enhanced security and efficiency through joint inspections of northbound trucks at Nogales-Mariposa, in 2017 the North American Research Partnership proposed an air quality impact analysis based on the hypothesis that reduced bottlenecks and wait times for trucks would have a positive impact on truck emissions.

NARP collaborated with Crossborder Group and T. Kear Transportation Planning and Management to design a study that would survey truckers in expedited and regular lanes on various aspects of their vehicles, including vehicle age, mileage, location of fuel purchase and other characteristics. Our team then analyzed that data and produced projections for emissions.

The results were remarkable: our analysis finds that the UCP and Free and Secure Trade (FAST) programs substantially reduce queue lengths and crossing times to deliver an approximately 85% reduction in emissions (carbon dioxide, CO2, and particulate matter, PM10 and PM2.5) associated with queuing and cargo inspection delays for northbound commercial traffic at the Nogales-Mariposa LPOE.

We appreciate the generous support of the Border 2020 Program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the North American Development Bank for this research project.

Executive summary

Full report