U.S.-Mexico Border: CBP Action Needed to Improve Wait Time Data and Measure Outcomes of Trade Facilitation Efforts

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A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) data on commercial vehicle wait times--the time it takes to travel from the end of the queue to the CBP primary inspection point at land border crossings--are unreliable for public reporting and CBP management decisions across border crossings. These data--which are collected manually by CBP officers--are unreliable because CBP officers inconsistently implement an approved data collection methodology, and the methodologies used vary by crossing. For example, five of the six crossings GAO visited ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. July 24, 2013.

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Description

A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) data on commercial vehicle wait times--the time it takes to travel from the end of the queue to the CBP primary inspection point at land border crossings--are unreliable for public reporting and CBP management decisions across border crossings. These data--which are collected manually by CBP officers--are unreliable because CBP officers inconsistently implement an approved data collection methodology, and the methodologies used vary by crossing. For example, five of the six crossings GAO visited require observation of the end of the queue to estimate wait times, but officials at these crossings reported the lines extended beyond their view at times. As a result, these data are generally not used by the private sector and are of limited usefulness for CBP management decisions on staffing and infrastructure investments. Determining and taking steps to help CBP officials overcome challenges to consistent implementation of existing methodologies could improve the reliability and usefulness of CBP's current wait time data. CBP officials have identified automated wait time data collection technology as the best way to improve data reliability. The Department of Transportation (DOT), in coordination with state DOTs and CBP, has ongoing pilot projects to use technology to gather more reliable wait time data at some border crossings. However, CBP has not assessed the feasibility of replacing current methods with automated data collection. Doing so, consistent with program management standards, could help CBP determine how to best improve data reliability."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • July 24, 2013

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. U.S.-Mexico Border: CBP Action Needed to Improve Wait Time Data and Measure Outcomes of Trade Facilitation Efforts, report, July 24, 2013; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc302455/: accessed September 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.