Quantitative Procedures for Designing and Operating Ferry Services
Ferry service capacity programs enhance regional travel capacity and enable regional mobility and access, as well as influence ferry services’ environmental and financial impacts. Capacity expansion can take many forms and create opportunities for expanded service and facilities as well as vessel improvements. Whether a service moves only passengers or also vehicles, system elements such as the vessel, terminal design, fare collection, and the interface between the terminal and the vessel all contribute to the system’s capacity and its ability to adapt to growth.
This report explores the variables and relationships that have an impact on the operating capacity of a ferry system and presents guidance and quantitative procedures for defining the capacity of a ferry system, along with best practices for understanding and addressing capacity challenges. The target audience includes ferry operators and transit decision makers of existing ferry services. This report expands on the ferry guidance provided in previous TCRP reports and focuses on:
- Identifying how ferry system elements, as well as operating conditions and assets (vessels and terminals), are related to each other and affect overall system capacity;
- Quantifying and assessing passenger and vehicle movement; and
- Presenting tools that can be used to plan for and address capacity challenges.
Data collection to support this research included conducting a literature review and gap analysis of previous ferry reports, administering an operator questionnaire, observing passenger throughput at several terminals, and reviewing ferry planning studies, guidelines, and industry best practices. The report concludes by identifying gaps in the research where additional data collection and research are needed to expand on capacity guidance and quantitative procedures and provide additional procedures for ferry capacity planning.