San Diegans develop new border wait estimate software

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Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 8.00.10 AMSAN DIEGO — Unless you have a Sentri pass, coming back into the U.S. from Tijuana often means you’ll be stuck in line for hours.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say they do their best to give estimates of how long those wait times are.

But often, they aren’t very accurate.

“Current estimates will tell you its 2 hours, you get there its 3 hours,” said David Strausser, who crosses the border for business daily.

He’s also part of a group of San Diego engineers working to get better wait time estimates to help crossers save time.

They can’t do anything about how miserably long the wait is, but they say they’ve come up with a way to help crossers get a better idea of how long it’ll take them to cross at any given time.

Strausser and his group have developed software powered by 18 cameras around Tijuana.

The images are processed through logistical filters, including how fast the line is moving, where the last car in the line is located and how many lanes are open.

He says the system then calculates a real time border wait estimate.

The developers of the system called Accuwait say it’s monitored 24-7.

They say it may not make the line move any faster, but hope the service empowers crossers.

The free website with estimates is set to launch before the end of the March.

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