The National Academies

TCRP J-10H [Completed]

Security Measures for Ferry Systems

  Project Data
Funds: $150,000
Research Agency: Science Applications International Corporation
Principal Investigator: David M. Friedman
Effective Date: 8/3/2004
Completion Date: 2/28/2006

Ferry systems are a vital component of the nation's multimodal transportation network. They become more essential in times of crisis, as they can operate even when other modes of transportation are disrupted. Ferries, however, present unique security requirements and challenges.

From a security standpoint, ferries represent a hybrid between cruise ships and mass transit vehicles. The central goals for securing ferry systems are to prevent vessels and related facilities from being the subject of an attack and to prevent vessels from being used as a weapon.
    The development and implementation of security measures for ferry systems that provide appropriate public security without discouraging traffic on that mode of public transportation presents a great challenge to ferry operators and public transportation systems in general. Ferry operators need information that will allow them to assess measures that address security threats.


    The objective of this research is to develop a guide for ferry-system operators to use in evaluating security measures to meet their security and operational goals.

    Accomplishment of the project objective(s) will require at least the following tasks.


    Task 1. Characterize the U.S. ferry system. This should be a high-level, logical grouping by risk-related operating profile and demographics rather than by agency or geographic area. For example, provide an overview of general characteristics of ferry service in the United States: passenger-only, passenger and automobile, peak-hour demand, passenger count, split between commuters and tourists, vessel type, and service speed.

    Task 2. Summarize the common threats to the U.S. ferry industry. This summary should be derived from open source (including published) literature.

    Task 3. Submit an interim report with the results of Task 1 and Task 2. The interim report will include a detailed outline for the final report.

    Task 4. Identify preventive measures to address ferry-system security threats. At a minimum, include measures in use in the ferry industry worldwide, potentially applicable technologies applied in other public transportation modes, and emerging measures.

    Task 5. For each ferry category and each applicable threat, present a menu of preventive measures. This menu should include the benefits the measures provide (e.g., deterrence value, detection value, denial value), weaknesses they possess, costs, and other service effects (e.g., throughput).

    Task 6. Describe how ferry operators might evaluate the applicability of selected measures to their unique operations. Provide a hypothetical example of measures that might be employed at different security levels.

    Task 7. Prepare a final report that provides: (1) a user-friendly guide for ferry-system operators to use in evaluating security measures to meet their security and operational needs; and (2) documentation of the entire research effort.

    Status: Completed. The final report has been published as TCRP Report 86, Volume 11.

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