Big data research to make accurate predictions of wait times for trucks

Toronto, Ontario – A new industry/academic research collaboration is set to revolutionize the transportation of goods at border crossings by applying data science to make accurate predictions of wait times for trucks.

The Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR) and SOSCIP, in partnership with the University of Windsor’s Cross-Border Institute (CBI), IBM and Inovex Inc., are collaborating on a project that will use big data to aggregate and analyze weather, traffic, and border wait time data so that better real-time decisions can be made in moving perishable and time-sensitive goods through the Great Lakes supply chain and across the Canada-United States border.

International borders, where trucks are subject to immigration, customs and security inspection, can impose extreme unpredictability on travel times. While average border clearance and crossing times at major ports of entry in the bi-national Great Lakes region are now as low as 20 minutes, much longer crossing times of 60- or even 90-minutes are not uncommon. Large buffers within shipment schedules and inventories are necessary as a result in order to mitigate the risk of uncertainty and delay. This not only imposes significant costs on shippers, receivers and carriers, but also undermines the efficiency of the Great Lakes economy, which in 2016 supported one third of the combined American and Canadian workforce, or 51 million jobs.

CBI is teaming up with mobile application developer Inovex Inc. to access the SOSCIP cloud analytics platform, the first research-dedicated cloud environment in Canada. The team will develop a smartphone application which can predict crossing times ranging from intervals of 15 minutes to two hours, and deliver notification of border delays, road closures, and/or accidents to shippers, dispatchers, drivers, receivers and other supply chain participants so they can adjust their shipment schedules and travel plans.

The project will be delivered as a pilot under the Great Lakes 4.0 initiative, a promising initiative led by CGLR in collaboration with IBM Canada and SOSCIP that will activate stronger relationships between producers of big data and those in academia and industry that have expert knowledge and capabilities in the areas of data science, analytics, and cognitive computing.

A critical objective of Great Lakes 4.0 will be to create a collaborative environment between the public and private sectors where next generation innovations and applications can be developed in response to a number of regional and global challenges, such as building smart transportation systems and borders, shifting to a cleaner economy, sustainable food production, and adapting to a changing climate.

To ensure the Great Lakes Region has the foresight and agility to leap into and lead the next economy, as well as capitalize on the technological change and innovation that will be demanded by the digital economy and industry 4.0, Great Lakes 4.0 will also create a collaborative platform for government, business and academia in the Great Lakes to study the economic and social impacts of disruption and consider the infrastructure, workforce, and government policies and regulations that will be required to compete in the new economy.


“This new collaboration presents an exciting opportunity to bring together our research experts at the University of Windsor with a nimble, entrepreneurial and technologically sophisticated team at Inovex to ensure that the work that we do in the lab can be translated to real-world scenarios,” said Dr. Bill Anderson, Director of the CBI.

“Inovex shares the CBI’s passion for applying new technology solutions from big data analysis and artificial intelligence to practical application in the cross-border trucking industry. This is an ideal partnership for us to engage in a new sector and leverage the resources and expertise at CBI, SOSCIP and CGLR,” said Inovex CEO, Rohit Shanker.

“SOSCIP is dedicated to supporting industry-academic collaborations that leverage data science and advanced computing to drive innovation,” said Elissa Strome, Executive Director, SOSCIP. “This new collaboration between CBI and Inovex, jointly supported by CGLR and SOSCIP, provides an important opportunity to bring together the right partners to help develop a solution that has the potential to have a significant positive economic and environmental impacts for Canada and our partners in the U.S.”

“Boosting the competitive edge of the Great Lakes Region and ensuring its long-term success in a world of rapid technological change presents numerous challenges for business leaders and policy-makers, but also opportunities” said Mark Fisher, President and CEO of CGLR. “Great Lakes 4.0 and this pilot project will help position the region as a global innovation leader and ensure it is positioned to compete and win in the new economy.

About CGLR

The Council of the Great Lakes Region is a bi-national nonprofit with offices in Toronto, Ontario and Cleveland, Ohio. Its mission is to create a stronger and more dynamic culture of collaboration between government, business, academia, and the nonprofit sector in harnessing the Great Lakes Region’s economic strengths while enhancing the well-being of its citizens and protecting the environment for future generations. It achieves this mandate by conducting insightful public policy research, convening dialogues with the Region’s diverse interests, and serving as a strong voice on regional matters.


SOSCIP is a research and development consortium that pairs academic and industry researchers with advanced computing tools to fuel Canadian innovation. SOSCIP supports projects that have the potential to have a considerable impact on the lives of Canadians, within areas such as cities, energy, health, water, advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity, digital media and mining. The consortium includes 15 of Ontario’s most research-intensive academic institutions as well as Ontario Centres of Excellence and the IBM Canada Research and Development Centre.

About CBI

The Cross-Border Institute (CBI) at the University of Windsor was founded in 2008 under the direction of Dr. Bill Anderson, Ontario Research Chair in Cross-Border Transportation Policy. It is dedicated to research, education and public outreach related to the movement of people, goods and services across the Canada-US border. It takes a multi-disciplinary perspective, incorporating engineering, economics, the social sciences, management and law.

About Inovex Inc.

Inovex is a Microsoft Partner and Independent Software Vendor (ISV). Since inception in 2003, Inovex has become a leader in the Canadian software development industry. Their roots lie in the development of industry-specific applications for a number of different verticals. Inovex has strategically positioned itself with in-depth technical and business acumen in both the environmental services and healthcare sectors. Their accomplishments have ranged from designing complex and secure clinical information systems that store personal health information, to the development of energy management systems to aid municipalities in their endeavors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Contact information:

Mark Fisher
President and CEO, Council of the Great Lakes Region
(613) 668-2044 /

Krista Davidson
Senior Communications Officer, SOSCIP
(416) 946-8386 /

Dr. Bill Anderson
Director, Cross-Border Institute, University of Windsor
(519) 253-3000 x2366 /

Rohit Shanker
CEO, Inovex
(905) 337-9514 /