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TSSC Research Project
Query Central - Automated Commercial Environment/International Trade Data System (QC-ACE/ITDS) Interface

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), are partnering to improve truck and bus safety at our nation's land borders. Utilizing the CBP Automated Commercial Environment/International Trade Data System (ACE/ITDS), combined with the FMCSA Query Central (QC) system, federal inspectors will have the ability to identify and contain unsafe commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) and drivers before they reach our nation's roads.

The primary objective of this project is to create a software interface between CBP's ACE/ITDS and FMCSA's QC system whereby ACE will send information to QC, and QC will respond with answers to facilitate the clearance of commercial carriers, vehicles, and drivers. ACE will send driver, vehicle, and carrier manifest data, and QC will respond with a pass/fail clearance response.

Currently, FMCSA is working with CBP to standardize and integrate data formats. By winter 2004, FMCSA is projected to go on-line with ACE as its Automated Truck Manifest feature is launched in the first seven of the busiest land border ports.

By linking ACE with QC, CBP officers will know before a bus or truck reaches the primary inspection booth at a port of entry whether the vehicle and/or the driver is free to enter U.S. roadways. Inspection personnel also will know whether they need to refer a vehicle or driver to secondary holding areas for further examination. As a result, safe CMVs and drivers will be allowed to proceed expeditiously through land border ports.

QC is an intranet application used by FMCSA that provides a single access point for multiple CMV safety-related data sources. Originally developed for CMV inspections, compliance reviews, and safety audits, QC's link with ACE/ITDS will automate the inspection selection process.

For a description of the ACE/ITDS system, please refer to: http://www.itds.treas.gov/itdsovr.html

The sharing of information between CBP and FMCSA is designed to operate as follows:

  1. The CMV carrier submits an electronic manifest through ACE/ITDS, which sends the manifest data to FMCSA, identifying the carrier, driver, and vehicle;
  2. FMCSA processes the manifest data against multiple federal and state data sources to determine if the driver and/or vehicle needs to be seen by FMCSA at the border;
  3. FMCSA sends a response through ACE/ITDS either clearing the operator or identifying any problem areas;
  4. ACE notifies the carrier of the result and lists any specified issues. This gives carriers the opportunity to resolve any safety issues prior to arrival at the border; and,
  5. FMCSA inspects those problem drivers/vehicles when they arrive at the border.

Query Central will review manifest data to ensure the following: the carrier possesses valid U.S. operating authority and minimum levels of required insurance, the vehicle operator holds a valid Commercial Driver's License or foreign equivalent with appropriate endorsements, the equipment shows a current inspection meeting the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance standard, and whether FMCSA has issued any out-of-service orders against the carrier. If electronic data shows drivers and vehicles meet these conditions and there are no other anomalies, they will be allowed to quickly proceed. If these conditions are not met, the vehicle or driver is referred to secondary holding areas for further inspection.

For more information about this project, please e-mail Brenda Lantz brenda.lantz@ndsu.edu.

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