Tech Innovations Easing Travel and Goods Shipments in North America

How are new infrastructure and tech innovation projects in North America easing travel and goods shipment?

The shipment of goods along river ports and travel across key borders in North America remain crucial to workforce mobility. New reporting shows that large infrastructure projects aided by tech innovation aim to ease travel and goods shipment in North America, starting with the Mississippi River and moving into critical entry points along the US-Canada-Mexico borders.

The Mississippi River Sails into the 21st Century

For some in the United States, the Mississippi River is simply a long slice of water separating the east and west bank of New Orleans, while to others, it symbolizes the ultimate freedom in Mark Twain’s 1884 novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Now, the river will flow swiftly into the 21st century with new technology to help river vessels navigate boat traffic.

Axios reports that a GPS navigation software app will use crowdsourced data from such river vessels as tugs and barges to help ships easily and swiftly navigate the river’s terrain. A real-time shoaling forecast tool will use predictive analytics about “sedimentation and shoaling” collected from the crowdsourced data to aid shipping vessels, which will help when large ships face obstacles such as storms or shallow areas.

It’s a whopping $3 million project that will include a Smart Port facility in Baton Rouge, Louisiana that aims to help ports along the river become more navigable and resilient, and could potentially impact the shipment of household goods operating along the Mississippi and into the U.S.

READ MORE about the global shipping crisis and its impact on mobility in this month’s edition of Mobility magazine.

US-Canada-Mexico Borders Get a Makeover

While travel between the United States, Mexico, and Canada remains largely restricted, that hasn’t stopped tech innovators from coming up with new ideas to ease the movement of people and goods around the country’s infrastructure. Axios reports that two projects in San Diego, California and Detroit, Michigan are underway to use connected-vehicle technology for international border crossings.

Funded by public-private partnerships, these projects are aimed to reduce wait times, improve air quality, and bolster trade amongst the three countries. The northern border between will see new towers for the Gordie Howe International Bridge over the Detroit River between Michigan and Ontario, along with a 1.5-mile span of six vehicle lanes and dedicate bike and pedestrian paths to make it one of the largest ports of entry in North America.

On the southern border, a port of entry connecting San Diego and Tijuana complete with flexible lanes and a variable pricing scheme will offer a “data-driven release valve for backups elsewhere along the California-Mexico border.” Both of these projects will use intelligent transportation systems that will collect and share data about the borders in real time, ultimately easing cross-border movement of people and goods.

"We're not looking at the model from the 20th century. We're shifting to a new world of appointments and exchanging data,” said California Department of Transportation’s project corridor director Maria Orso. Indeed, as North America slowly but surely eases restrictions and sees a return to pre-pandemic levels of travel and goods shipment, mobility will ultimately benefit from these tech-assisted innovation projects that take us even further into the 21st century.

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