A comprehensive research report prepared by a coalition of nationally-respected urban economic experts, including UC San Diego Extension’s Global CONNECT, contends that both the United States and Mexico would benefit significantly from establishing what is termed a “frictionless border.”
Such a change in diplomatic and economic strategy would enable the San Diego-Tijuana border crossing to greatly accelerate bi-national economic growth and prosperity rather than serving as a choke-point of congestion.
Titled “From Border Barriers to Bi-National Promise: What the Future Could Be with a Frictionless Border,” the 25-page report was prepared with the Creative Class Group, a New York-based urban-studies consulting firm, in close partnership with Global CONNECT, a global research division of UC San Diego Extension. Nathan Owens serves as director of Global CONNECT.
“The key to fully maximizing the potential of the border will require us to integrate economic, social and cultural objectives into border policy, said Mary Walshok, associate vice chancellor of public programs, dean of UC San Diego Extension and a co-author on the report. “We regard the focus as reimagining the border and its management.”
Researchers met with dozens of business, community and government officials on both sides of the Tijuana-San Diego border to hear their personal stories and vision for a frictionless U.S. and Mexico border.
The report’s conclusion is that billions of dollars of economic opportunity are being squandered due to the narrow definition of the border as exclusively a homeland security issue, and that integrating economic and social-cultural objectives into border policy could unlock this huge potential.
On May 1, the report’s findings were presented to civic, business, academic and public policy experts representing both sides of the border. The meeting was hosted by the San Diego Foundation.
Each day, more than 300,000 daily commuters cross the San Diego-Tijuana border in each direction, many forced to endure wait times as long as two to three hours and more. Annually, more than 60 million border crossings are made, an estimated half for shopping and recreation, with 10 million job-related.