UTEP Collaborative Earns $250K Grant for Ports of Entry Planning

The colleges of Engineering and Business Administration at The University of Texas at El Paso were awarded a $250,000 grant from the Texas Department of Transportation through The University of Texas at Austin to begin research for the El Paso/Santa Teresa-Chihuahua Border Master Plan.

The master plan, which will be developed over the next 12 months, will improve bi-national planning, financing, technology and risk management coordination involved with the operation of soon-to-be constructed ports of entry in the region.

“Our objective is to provide data and information in support of the technical analyses and decision processes utilized with respect to existing and future ports of entry in El Paso,” said Salvador Hernandez, Ph.D., assistant professor of civil engineering and co-principal investigator of the project. “At UTEP, we coordinate data collection, public involvement, and quantitative analyses for the Border Master Plan.”  

The master plan will support ongoing studies on current ports of entry operations, bridge wait times, and other freight and passenger transportation-related aspects that will encourage collaboration between the United States and Mexico. The plan also will look into enhancing information sharing and improving technologies between the two countries in order for law enforcement to better evaluate and search potentially hazardous persons or vehicles, while streamlining the passage of lower risk passengers and cargo.

According to Tom Fullerton, Ph.D., professor of economics and co-principal investigator, the various tasks on the drawing board also include “several different traffic engineering and applied econometric modeling and simulation efforts.”

Hernandez and Fullerton will collaborate with Carlos Chang, Ph.D., Kelvin Cheu, Ph.D., and Raed Aldouri, Ph.D., from UTEP’s civil engineering department; and Adam Walke, M.S., from the UTEP Department of Economics & Finance; as well as graduate and undergraduate civil engineering and business students.