Border Crossings - Overview

What is the significance of border crossings?

Arizona’s border ports of entry play a pivotal role in facilitating commercial exchanges between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The dynamics of personal vehicle, pedestrian and bus crossings reflect the regional significance of border ports of entry for personal transportation, tourism and trade. Commercial travel and freight in the form of train and truck crossings contextualize border ports of entry as of national and North American significance.

Data on the dynamics of international border crossings highlight infrastructure capacities for personal travel and commercial traffic. They also reflect the importance of trans-border business connections, including work-related commuting, shopping, leisure, cultural and family connections throughout the border region.

What is measured?

The border crossings section includes information on personal and commercial travel through Arizona’s six border ports of entry. Specifically, crossings comprise:

With the exception of train crossings, data for each category are presented individually for each of Arizona’s six border ports of entry, and as a summary for all six. When combined, these six border ports of entry comprise the Nogales District. 

How do Arizona border ports of entry perform?

Although border crossings reflect the composite effects of many factors at national, regional, and local levels, trends in commercial traffic, in particular, can be used as a rough indicator of a port’s competitiveness. Within the Nogales District, the border port of Nogales facilitates the largest volume of commercial and noncommercial crossings. To gauge Nogales’ relative competitiveness in the entire U.S.-Mexico border region, crossing dynamics is compared with a select number of other, major ports of entry in Texas, New Mexico, and California. Data are provided on monthly and annual bases, with indices of percent change between observed periods.  Only northbound crossings are recorded. Thus, the actual number of crossings in both directions is approximately double the northbound volume.

Photo of sunset with mountain panorama courtesy of Shutterstock.

Photo of delivery truck driving across desert courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important note on border crossings data:

Border crossing data presented on these pages are from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). BTS releases border crossings as monthly data series, however, they release these data three months at a time each quarter. EBRC calculates the annual totals published here. EBRC inspects all data released from public sources for accuracy and consistency. The Center has noticed several issues of concern with the border crossing dataset. In order to improve the consistency and accuracy EBRC has made and continues incorporate the following estimates and corrections to this dataset. This means the data presented here may not always match data on the BTS website.

More information

  • Missing observations in the historical monthly series are estimated when possible and sensible. These estimates are then incorporated into the annual totals published here.  You may request a complete list of estimated values. EBRC believes these estimates greatly improve the accuracy and relevance of these data.
  • Each quarter when BTS releases three more months of data, frequently there are missing data points or incorrect data points.  BTS then often corrects these errors over the course of the quarter, or the data are corrected by BTS the following quarter. After each BTS release, EBRC checks and then corrects or estimates data where possible and needed prior to publication on this website. When BTS makes corrections during the quarter EBRC incorporated these into the monthly data series and annual totals.
  • Because of the two issues mentioned above, EBRC does not publish new data on this website immediately upon the BTS data release.  EBRC may take a week or more to check and correct the data. We will always publish a note informing our users of when the BTS data is released with an estimate for the EBRC data release on this page.
  • The three points above mean that data on this page may not always match data on the BTS website.  It is however the opinion of EBRC that data published on this website are at any given time the most accurate and reasonable reflection of current trends in border crossings.
  • For more information please contact us.