By SHANNON KELLY
Border wait times between Canada and the U.S. could get a whole lot shorter in coming months and years, thanks to improved sensor technology to be installed near customs plazas that will provide up-to-the-minute traffic information to drivers on the approach.
The sensors will be able to judge volume and rate of movement by reading location data from Bluetooth GPS-enabled devices (cell phones, laptops, etc.) and will relay information to motorists using roadside displays at key “decision points” along the routes leading to border crossings. Data will be updated every five minutes; previously, updates were only every half-hour or hour. Transport Canada estimates that this change could eliminate up to one million hours of time spent waiting at borders each year.
Two Niagara-region Ontario border crossings are the first to receive the technology: Fort Erie’s Peace Bridge and the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge. The Rainbow Bridge at Niagara Falls will have the sensors up and running in 2013, with the remaining top 20 border crossing locations between the U.S. and Canada to follow.