Border Patrol deploys rumble strips to help merge traffic

Transportation Management Case Studies
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U.S. Border Patrol checkpoints are a crucial component of their mission. Border Patrol checkpoints reduce and restrict the ability of criminal and terrorist entities to cross international borders. At the same time, however, the Border Patrol checkpoints must facilitate the crossing of legitimate traffic, both personal and commercial.


At one checkpoint in the southwest, Border Patrol had witnessed several near-miss accidents. Drivers attempting to merge onto a highway ramp just beyond the checkpoint often came very close to hitting each other.


To solve this, Border Patrol decided to slow traffic in one or more of the five checkpoint lanes. This would allow more spacing between vehicles as they merge onto the entrance ramp. One lane of slower traffic would better create the desired “zipper” effect of merging traffic.


However, Border Patrol did not want to close any lanes, nor did they want to install any permanent roadway hardware. A closed lane might create unwieldy queues, and a permanent installation of hardware could prove unnecessary and disruptive during times of light traffic.


In essence, Border Patrol needed a device that would slow traffic within the confines of a single traffic lane and could be installed and removed at will, as conditions dictated.


RoadQuake temporary, portable rumble strips from Plastic Safety Systems Inc. met those needs. As the rumble strips are temporary, no fasteners or nails are required to install the strips. Also, the strips are portable: A two-person crew can install an array in minutes, with no equipment required.


In a week-long test, Border Patrol placed four strips at the end of an exit lane, with spacing between strips at about 3½ ft. Temperatures were in the mid 70s; the roadway surface was 82°F and the strips themselves measured 99°F.


At the end of the test, Border Patrol concluded that RoadQuake slowed traffic and facilitated safer merges. The strips performed effectively. As proof of the test’s success, Border Patrol recently purchased several rumble strips.


To arrange for a RoadQuake Temporary Portable Rumble Strip demonstration, please contact us at 800.662.6338, or visit us at

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