Understanding cross-border mobility in medium-small Mexico-U.S. Binational regions. Mexicali-Imperial Valley case study

Manuel Gutiérrez, Alejandro Sánchez-Atondo, Leonel García, Alejandro Mungaray-Moctezuma, Julio Calderón

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3 Scopus citations


Most Mexico-U.S. cross-border mobility studies have been carried out in the largest binational regions. Although characteristics identified in previous studies explain this phenomenon in a general way for the rest of the U.S.-Mexico binational spaces, it is not clear if it occurs in the same way in smaller regions due to their border condition. This research aims to fill this literature gap by understanding cross-border mobility in medium-small Mexico-U.S. binational regions and exploring the role of the urban scale and geographical position, using Mexicali-Imperial Valley binational region as a case study. A methodology is proposed considering the limited data scenario of Mexican cities, and it is expected it could be applied in other cases to understand cross-border mobility. It has two main approaches; the first one is a historical analysis using official data. The second is a disaggregate analysis based on a zoning system and a household survey design and application; it was applied in Mexicali in 2019. It is concluded some cross-border dynamics depend on the urban scale of cities that make up binational regions; however, it is the American urban area that largely defines this mobility, while Mexican cities’ territorial dimension seems to have less incidence. Moreover, some cross-border mobility characteristics depend on the border condition, as demonstrated by the findings in medium areas, despite their territorial scale, having border-crossing growth trends similar to the larger ones. Moreover, the case study's particular results could serve as parameters for designing strategies to promote efficient and sustainable cross-border mobility

Original languageEnglish
Article number100324
JournalTransportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives
StatePublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

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  • Cross-border crossings
  • Mexico-U.S. binational regions
  • Port of Entry (PoE)


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