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The future safety of maritime transportation in the United States—a major factor in the nation's international trade and economic well-being—will depend heavily on the quality of port and waterways information systems. Many U.S. ports and waterways lack adequate information services, although certain elements of advanced systems are now available in some locations. Barriers to improvements in information systems include the division of responsibilities for waterways management among multiple agencies at all levels of government, a lack of coordination among the federal agencies responsible for waterways management, inadequate budgets for some critical maritime programs, the high costs of some specialized technologies, stakeholder opposition to user fees, limited access to certain key data, the incompatibility of many independently developed systems, and the absence of standards for some attractive technologies.

In this report, the second phase of a three-year study by the Committee on Maritime Advanced Information Systems of the National Research Council, a strategy is presented for overcoming the major barriers and deficiencies and providing a minimum level of maritime safety information nationwide. In this phase of the study, the committee concentrated on maritime information systems that promote safety, which is the area of greatest need. The committee did not examine in detail the relationship between navigation safety and maritime transportation efficiency or evaluate information systems that promote efficiency; the committee believes, however, that these issues deserve further attention.


Suggested Citation

National Research Council. 1999. Applying Advanced Information Systems to Ports and Waterways Management. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

66 pages | 8.5 x 11 | 

  • Paperback:  978-0-309-06380-7
  • Ebook:  978-0-309-17317-9

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