Canada and the United States have the world’s largest bilateral trade relationship. Most of the goods traded between the two countries pass through a handful of border crossings located along the Great Lakes and connecting rivers. The most important of these crossings is between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan, where one bridge, two tunnels and truck ferry carry roughly one-third of all Canada-US trade in goods (excluding oil and gas). As a result of the relative ease of cross-border movement, and of institutional arrangements such as the 1965 Auto Pact, Southwestern Ontario and Southeastern Michigan have evolved into one of the most highly integrated cross-border industrial regions in the world. In recent years, however, the failure of governments on both sides of the border to keep up with transportation infrastructure demands and the more stringent border security regime since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 have eroded the efficiency of movement of people and freight, with significant negative impacts on the economy of the cross-border region.
In recognition of the economic importance of this issue, the Government of Ontario has funded a new policy research chair in cross-border transportation studies at the University of Windsor. The first holder of that chair, Professor Bill Anderson, joined the University of Windsor in July 2008 as a member of the Political Science Department. He is founding director of the university's Cross-Border Institute (CBI).
There are opportunities for graduate students in Political Science to participate in the research activities of CBI. These opportunities are not be limited to traditional transportation studies, but also include such public policy issues as international governance of cross-border infrastructure and security systems, environmental impacts of the border crossing and the role of municipal governments in border crossing policy. Professor Anderson also offers a graduate seminar in cross-border studies each year and an undergraduate course on public infrastructure.
The Department of Political Science has exceptional funding opportunities for students applying to the M.A. program with an interest in cross-border transportation policy. Please contact Professor Anderson directly with questions about research in this exciting field at the University of Windsor, or contact Dr. Jim Wittebols for more info on our MA programs.