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  • An Examination of Multihazard Marine Transportation System (MTS) Response and Recovery Operations during the 2020 Hurricane Season

    Abstract: The Committee on the Marine Transportation System (CMTS), Resilience Integrated Action Team (RIAT), was established in 2014 to foster the coordination and coproduction of knowledge that incorporates the concepts of resilience into the marine transportation system (MTS). The RIAT defines resilience as a four-phase cycle that incorporates preparation, response, recovery, and adaptation activities to minimize disruption to the MTS. The RIAT utilizes this definition of resilience to convene first-responder CMTS agencies to examine challenges and successes and make recommendations about past hurricane seasons. The 2020 hurricane season saw a record-breaking number of storms form in the Atlantic basin during a global pandemic. As a result, federal agencies were challenged to operate in a multihazard posture, and many former lessons learned needed to be adjusted to this unprecedented situation.
  • A Method for Evaluating Automatic Identification System (AIS) Coverage on Select Inland Waterways in 2020 and 2021: Upper Mississippi River, Illinois River, and Ohio River

    Abstract: The Automatic Identification System (AIS) shares vessel position information for navigational safety purposes. AIS broadcasts are received by other ships and terrestrial stations; however, in some areas there is no, or low, terrestrial station coverage to receive broadcasts. The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) developed an Online Travel Time Atlas (OTTA) to process AIS data and derive a transit count. This study examined OTTA output from 2020 and 2021 to identify areas of high or low AIS coverage along the Upper Mississippi, Illinois, and Ohio Rivers. Segments with a yearly average of two or more transit per day were classified as high coverage, those with less than a yearly average of two transits per day were classified as low coverage. Rivers were segmented using the USACE National Channel Framework reach boundaries. Results based on calculated vessel transits were as follows: Upper Mississippi River: 837.4 miles (98%) had high coverage, with 17.4 miles (2%) of low coverage; Illinois River: 190.5 miles (59%) had high AIS coverage, and 133 miles (41%) had low AIS coverage; Ohio River: 644 miles (66%) had high coverage, and 337 miles (34%) had low coverage. AIS coverage could be improved by raising antennae heights, installing repeater equipment, or adding towers.
  • A Resilient Path Forward for the Marine Transportation System: Recommendations for Response and Recovery Operations from the 2017-2019 Hurricane Seasons

    Abstract: The Marine Transportation System (MTS), Resilience Integrated Action Team (RIAT), is tasked by the coordinating board of the US Committee on the MTS to serve as a coordinating body to identify the impacts, best practices, and lessons learned by federal agencies involved in the response and recovery of the MTS after hurricane seasons. In response to this request, the RIAT has focused its analysis on the ability of MTS federal agencies to prepare, respond, recover, and adapt to as well as from disruptions. This was accomplished through workshops focused on gathering the collective experiences of emergency response professionals. In 2017, recommendations were gathered based on experiences responding to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. In this report, a similar approach was adopted to gather findings from Hurricanes Florence and Michael in 2018 and Hurricane Dorian in 2019. Utilizing the successes, challenges, and best practices from all six of these storms, the RIAT identified key coordinating bodies and the participants for each and key takeaways relative to the coordination of agencies with respect to the four steps of resilience: prepare, absorb, recover, and adapt.
  • Houston Ship Channel Numerical Model Update and Validation

    Abstract: The Houston Ship Channel (HSC) is one of the busiest deep-draft navigation channels in the United States and must be able to accommodate increasing vessel sizes. The US Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston District (SWG), requested the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory, update and revalidate a previously developed three-dimensional Adaptive Hydraulics (AdH) hydrodynamic and sediment model of the HSC, Galveston, and Trinity Bays. The model is necessary for analyzing potential impacts on salinity, sediment, and hydrodynamics due to alternatives designed to reduce shoaling in the HSC. SWG requested an updated validation of the previously developed AdH model of this area to calendar years 2010 and 2017, utilizing newly collected sediment data. Updated model inputs were supplied for riverine suspended sediment loads as well as for the ocean tidal boundary condition. The updated model shows good agreement to field data in most conditions but also indicates potential issues with freshwater flow inputs as well as the ocean salinity boundary condition.
  • Hands-Free Mooring for Inland USACE Locks, Phase I: Technical Screening

    Purpose: The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) was asked to evaluate hands-free mooring (HFM) as an option for improving the safety and efficiency of lock operations at USACE locks within the United States. The focus of this research is assessing HFM solutions for barge tows on USACE inland waterway locks. This Coastal and Hydraulics engineering technical note (CHETN) describes the approach and findings from Phase I of this HFM research effort, which was funded through the Navigation Systems Research Program. Phase I includes defining the problem this research effort intends to address, understanding current mooring practices at USACE locks, gathering information on similar systems already in use, and developing design concepts and criteria.
  • Invasive Species Costs to the USACE Navigation Business Line: A Demonstration Analysis in the Chicago District

    Abstract: Executive Order 13112 requires federal agencies to report invasive species costs to the National Invasive Species Counsel (NISC) annually. NISC then reports to Congress to increase awareness of invasive species and encourage inter-agency cooperation. Since 2005, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has provided an annual estimate for the Civil Works (CW) business lines. Traditionally, USACE estimates have been informed by broad assumptions, as many invasive species costs are not itemized. This study sought to develop a method to improve these estimates. A demonstration analysis was conducted for the Chicago District Navigation Business Line and was used to inform recommendations for a nation-wide analysis. The demonstration revealed invasive species-related costs represent about 0.2% ($64,000) of the district’s Navigation Business Line. Invasive species costs are subject to many variables, such as the type, prevalence, and impact of invasive species, as well as the number and type of navigation projects. The Chicago District results are not presumed to be indicative of other districts’ invasive species costs. Rather, the demonstration informed the development of an invasive species cost estimating method that can adapted for each CW business line, as well as variations in invasive species and projects across geographic regions. This report describes the demonstration analysis and presents a defensible framework for quantifying the costs of invasive species to the USACE CW program.
  • Ship Simulator of the Future in Virtual Reality

    Introduction: The Army’s modernization priorities include the development of augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) simulations for enabling the regiment and increasing soldier readiness. The use of AR/VR technology at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) is also growing in the realm of military and civil works program missions. The ERDC Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory (CHL) has developed a ship simulator to evaluate bay channels across the world; however, the current simulator has little to no physical realism in nearshore coastal regions (Figure 1). Thus, the ERDC team is researching opportunities to advance ship simulation to deliver the Ship Simulator of the Future (SSoF). The SSoF will be equipped with a VR mode and will more accurately resolve nearshore wave phenomena by ingesting precalculated output from a Boussinesq-type wave model. This initial prototype of the SSoF application is intended for research and development purposes; however, the technologies employed will be applicable to other disciplines and project scopes, including the Synthetic Training Environment (STE) and ship and coastal structure design in future versions.
  • Automatic Identification System Analysis Package User Guide

    Abstract: The Automatic Identification System Analysis Package (AISAP) enables acquisition, statistical analysis, and visualization of Automatic Identification System (AIS) data from historic vessel position reports. The web-based AISAP software allows the users to choose which data they want to examine for a specific geographic area, time period, and vessel type(s). Built-in features provide vessel characteristics, arrival and departure information within a geofenced area, vessel travel time between two locations, vessel track line plots, and relative density plots of AIS data reports. AISAP accesses the Nationwide Automatic Identification System database hosted by the United States Coast Guard. This user manual provides training exercises for users to follow to familiarize themselves with AISAP procedures and workflows. These training exercises also provide examples of AISAP products.
  • Improving Container Shipment Analysis

    Abstract: US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) deep-draft navigation economic analyses use assumptions about the sensitivity of vessel operations to channel modification to estimate national economic development benefits. The complexity and proprietary nature of carrier deployment decisions and loading practices adds uncertainty to USACE navigation studies. This report attempts to provide an overview of containership deployment and loading practices as it relates to USACE navigation studies to improve the quality of deep-draft economics. The report relies on trade data, vessel order books, and carrier interviews to study the impact of channel modification on vessel loading and deployment. The report makes recommendations for developing deployment and loading inputs for future economic evaluations.
  • Vessel Speed Analysis before and after Dredging near Missouri River Mile 282 in November 2020

    Abstract: The purpose of this Coastal and Hydraulics Engineering Technical Note (CHETN) is to present information on vessel traffic before, during, and after a dredging event around river mile 282 of the Missouri River in November 2020 along with contextual information about tonnage and commodities that utilize this navigation project.