Crossing over the U.S-Mexican Border

Recently, Teen Vogue highlighted how crossing the U.S. border remains a daily reality for most people. The author focused on four stories: travel for work, school, shopping and family, although there are other reasons, such as medical or tourism. The article sited a Bureau of Transportation Statistics website which complied numbers, mode and locations crossings into the United States. And BTS does not report illegal crossings…that is Customs and Border Protection’s information.

So in 2018, the largest U.S. crossings with Mexico are shown on the following map

So, there are a few crossings in Southern California, El Paso, and the lower Rio Grande Valley with the largest passenger crossings, mostly by automobile or walking. The largest bus crossings are in Laredo, but the largest Pedestrian and automobile crossings occurred in San Ysidro and El Paso.

No one simply travels across the border just to say, “well I was in “so-and-so””, (well, unless you are interested in joining the Traveler’s Century Club.) Sometimes, we forget that for each data point, there is a reason why someone wanted to enter the United States. But for local and national groups, it is just as important to know the total number and location of how people entered the United States to assist in planning infrastructure and operational needs or to quantify the border’s economic contribution activity.


How the graph was created: Downloaded a custom table from BTS Border Crossing Database, converted the file into Excel to fix the geography, and than imported in Tableau.

Related databases:
The BTS information does not include passenger flights, which are reported here

There is some information on commercial freight traffic, such as trains and trucks,which is presented below for 2018. For a fuller comparison of commercial freight transportation across the borders, go TransBorder Freight Data.