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Quantitative Procedures for Designing and Operating Ferry Services (2023)

Chapter: Chapter 6 - Suggested Further Research

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Page 60
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 6 - Suggested Further Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Quantitative Procedures for Designing and Operating Ferry Services. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26748.
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CHAPTER 6

Suggested Further Research

Summary of Identified Gaps

Ferry transportation assets and operations are different from those of other transportation modes, and more research and data collection are needed to support ferry planning and provide guidance on a similar level to that available for other modes. This chapter identifies areas of research related to ferry capacity planning that could not be included in this project but are suggested for future research. Identified gaps are listed in Table 24, along with a summary of how research would further develop ferry capacity planning guidance.

Table 24. Summary of identified gaps in research.

Gap Need for Research
ADA vessel design: ADA access requirements and guidelines for passenger vessels When guidelines developed by the U.S. Access Board are adopted as regulations for passenger ferry vessels, further study would be helpful to understand impacts to vessel design and capacity planning.
Alternative vessel propulsion: Potential impacts to terminal and schedule capacity of electric or alternative propulsion vessels As the use of electric and alternative propulsion vessels increases, system capacity planning will benefit from research on the terminal space requirements for vessel charging or refueling equipment, and the impact to service schedules, especially dwell time, of new vessel propulsion systems.
Bicycles: Utilization rates and demand variability Data collection related to bicycle use based on route characteristics, type of ridership (commute/recreational), and seasonality is needed that can be used to inform vessel and terminal capacity planning.
Climate change: Impacts to terminal and vessel design Greater understanding of how sea level rise and changing weather patterns will affect terminal and vessel requirements will inform capital investment and system capacity planning.
Crew scheduling: Practices for crew shift scheduling and dispatch To support the expansion of ferry systems, additional research on crew scheduling opportunities within the maritime regulatory environment is recommended.
Fare collection: Processing rates (time per passenger or vehicle) for new fare technologies More accurate passenger or vehicle processing rates for current fare collection methods, such as mobile tickets, would allow for accurate passenger throughput and dwell time planning.
Freight: Practices for incorporating freight into passenger and vehicle ferry service Research on existing ferry operations that provide freight service, including how freight is loaded/unloaded and stored on vessels, and the impacts on route and system capacity, would support capacity planning decisions and capital investments.
Page 61
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 6 - Suggested Further Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Quantitative Procedures for Designing and Operating Ferry Services. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26748.
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Gap Need for Research
Passenger flow-rate modeling: Updated pedestrian flow rates based on observations at ferry terminals More accurate pedestrian flow rates based on observation of different terminal conditions would support useful modeling for capacity planning. Modeling could include at-capacity and under-capacity conditions, passenger flows onto different vessel types, comparison of passenger flows during different weather conditions and a range of ramp slopes resulting from tidal conditions, and impacts to flow rates from passengers with items such as strollers, luggage, bicycles, and umbrellas.
Passenger flow rates by type of ridership: Comparison of passenger throughput and vessel dwell times during periods of regular/commute ridership with recreational/special-event ridership Anecdotal evidence points to a need for longer scheduled dwell times for recreational/special-event ridership for ferries, but collection of passenger flow data for different types of ridership would support schedule planning.
Queue monitoring: Options for monitoring passengers and vehicles left behind when a full vessel departs Research on potential technologies and methods that allow operators to monitor the number of passengers and vehicles left behind (and those that choose not to wait for the next sailing) on a trip-by-trip basis would provide operators with insight into capacity constraints and planning needs.
Vehicle processing technology: Automated vehicle fare processing options Potential technologies and alternatives for automated vehicle fare processing are recommended for further research. Potential opportunities include reduced vehicle processing times and automated queuing lane assignments for optimized vehicle loading.
Vessel design: Dwell time and other considerations based on vessel design options Data collection related to comparison of dwell time and maneuvering requirements of different vessel types could inform capital investment planning. Areas for data collection include tie-up time requirements and other dwell time differences between side- and bow-loading passenger-only vessels.
Page 60
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 6 - Suggested Further Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Quantitative Procedures for Designing and Operating Ferry Services. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26748.
×
Page 60
Page 61
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 6 - Suggested Further Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Quantitative Procedures for Designing and Operating Ferry Services. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26748.
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Page 61
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Ferry transportation services play an important role in regional transportation—providing additional transit capacity to transportation networks and serving as a lifeline for many geographically-isolated communities.

The TRB Transit Cooperative Research Program's TCRP Research Report 238: Quantitative Procedures for Designing and Operating Ferry Services presents guidance for scheduled and fixed-route ferry transit services and facilities that serve passengers as well as passengers and vehicles. Guidance focuses on defining the capacity of a ferry system and understanding capacity challenges, and includes quantitative procedures for designing and operating ferry services.

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