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The Marine Transportation System and the Federal Role: Measuring Performance, Targeting Improvement - Special Report 279 � � � � � � 5 Information on Marine Transportation System Conditions, Performance, and Needs The nation’s marine transportation infrastructure and services are owned, maintained, and operated by many private and public entities. Each makes investment and operating decisions for its own reasons that collectively have wider effects on the functioning of both the marine transportation system (MTS) and the nation’s freight system as a whole. The decisions of private terminal operators, carriers, and shippers are driven largely by commercial interests. Public port authorities must meet the demands of private users while serving the public interest. State and local governments must balance the responsibility of building the highways connecting to ports with other demands on their limited transportation resources. The many federal entities with marine- and transportation-

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The Marine Transportation System and the Federal Role: Measuring Performance, Targeting Improvement - Special Report 279 � � � � � � related responsibilities have their own mission requirements, statutory obligations, and budgetary constraints that influence their capital investment and operating decisions. The focus of this study is on the federal role in the MTS and on the system’s performance with regard to key national interests. Earlier chapters described the federal role in furthering several such areas of interest: ensuring marine safety, protecting the marine environment, facilitating commerce, and promoting national security. Multiple federal agencies have responsibilities relating to aspects of these interests. In monitoring and seeking ways to improve performance, each agency is inclined to focus on its own domain rather than on needs and opportunities for improving performance overall. An overview of the information available for measuring and monitoring the performance of the MTS with regard to these national interests is provided in this chapter. The kinds of databases and analyses available to help guide federal program and policy decisions are described. As discussed in the preceding chapter, federal policy makers, especially Congress, have found comprehensive system condition and performance information helpful in guiding decisions in the federal highway and aviation programs. SAFETY PERFORMANCE The Coast Guard has primary federal responsibility for ensuring safety on the waterways, including responsibility for setting forth and enforcing safety regulations. This responsibility requires the gathering of accident and other safety-related data that are used to identify safety problems and assess the costs and benefits of alternative regulations to address them. In addition, the agency must monitor the safety performance of the waterways to deploy its own resources most effectively. The Coast Guard collects various safety-related data, including the number of calls from mariners in distress, maritime worker fatalities, fatalities aboard passenger vessels, and fatalities in recreational boating. Through its Marine Casualty and Pollution Database, it collects data on the incidence and location of commercial vessel accidents, such as ground-

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The Marine Transportation System and the Federal Role: Measuring Performance, Targeting Improvement - Special Report 279 � � � � � � ings and collisions with other vessels and structures. These data are analyzed to determine accident causes and contributing factors. They are used by the Coast Guard to develop vessel design, construction, and operational requirements for safety and pollution prevention and to guide enforcement activities pertaining to the operations of domestic and foreign vessels. The agency also uses the information in developing specific safety initiatives, such as the Commercial Vessel Safety and Recreational Boating Safety programs. The extent to which this safety information is used regularly by other federal agencies and Congress to guide overall federal investments within the MTS is unclear. There is little evidence, for instance, that the information is used routinely in developing federal plans for navigation infrastructure improvements, such as lock and harbor channel projects, or in assessing charting, surveying, and hydrographic information provided by the federal government. Accidents attributed to human error may be preventable, at least in part, through changes in channel design, maintenance, and markings, which are largely Corps of Engineers’ responsibilities (Waters et al. 1999). The importance of viewing safety more broadly and from a systems perspective has become apparent over the years as costly and vexing problems such as oil tanker accidents have compelled comprehensive evaluations of accident causes and remedies. The previously cited industry study by the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO 1996) indicates that safety performance must be considered not only in vessel design requirements but also in decisions concerning waterway management, channel design and maintenance, navigation aids, and the provision of nautical charts and hydrographic data. Periodically, the Corps of Engineers examines Coast Guard casualty and incident data to identify harbors and channels that are candidates for safety-related changes in channel design, maintenance, markings, and piloting requirements (see Waters et al. 1999). This is an example of how the data collected by one agency for its own purposes could be helpful for decision making in related areas if the data collection were designed for a wider range of applications. However, this is not a routine activity, and the Coast Guard safety databases are not designed with the intent of

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The Marine Transportation System and the Federal Role: Measuring Performance, Targeting Improvement - Special Report 279 � � � � � � supporting such evaluations by the Corps of Engineers. For the most part, the corps evaluates safety impacts as part of its calculations of the net benefits of navigation projects aimed at enhancing capacity. Its investment decisions are not guided by overarching goals for system safety, and they are not made within the context of broader federal strategies for improving performance through combinations of infrastructure investments, vessel design and operating regulations, and other means such as improved crew training and hydrographic data. As discussed in Chapter 3, the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 compelled the Coast Guard to be more comprehensive and systematic in its approach to reducing vessel spills and accidents. However, other federal agencies besides the Coast Guard have important safety-related responsibilities that require an even greater level of coordination. Examples are the Corps of Engineers’ responsibility to maintain and improve the navigable channels and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s responsibility to provide accurate and reliable hydrographic information and nautical charts. In contrast, the federal aviation program has long pursued safety through systematic means. Safety is treated not as a side effect of a planned investment but as a specific dimension of system performance. Accordingly, the Federal Aviation Administration (with help from the National Transportation Safety Board) gathers and maintains extensive information on the safety of the aviation system. It sets measurable targets for safety performance and establishes strategies and plans for meeting them that cut across the agency’s offices and program areas, such as air traffic control, airport research, the setting of pilot training, and aircraft certification standards (FAA 2003). It is noteworthy that in 1997 the Coast Guard and the Maritime Administration (MARAD), in an effort to expand the quality and utility of marine safety data, examined the concept of a national marine incident reporting system modeled after the aviation reporting system. The idea was to encourage voluntary reporting of near-miss groundings, collisions, and pollution events, which are not normally reported to the Coast Guard. Safety analysts understand that there is much to be learned about how and

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The Marine Transportation System and the Federal Role: Measuring Performance, Targeting Improvement - Special Report 279 � � � � � � why accidents are avoided; for one thing, this information can provide an early warning of potential problem areas and emerging concerns (Waters et al. 1999). However, the near-miss database for marine accidents was not established, in part because of legal and practical concerns about assuring mariner confidentiality. Developing a more systematic approach to the federal role in marine safety will require cooperation among the federal agencies with safety-related responsibilities. A more systematic and data-driven process for identifying safety problems and solutions may result from such cooperation. ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE The environmental performance of the marine transportation system is related to safety performance. However, environmental databases, like marine safety databases, are designed mainly to meet the particular operational and regulatory needs of the specific agencies that collect the information. For example, the Coast Guard’s Vessel Oil Spill Incident database provides information on oil spills in U.S. waters for the past 30 years. Although it is designed primarily for the purpose of tracking spills and responses, the database can be used to monitor the total volume and number of spills by source (e.g., barge, tanker, offshore pipeline), location, water body (harbor, lake, river), and oil type. This information has clear value in planning, designing, and prioritizing channel maintenance and improvement projects to improve the environmental performance of the MTS. Environmental concerns related to the MTS extend beyond the waterways to port landside facilities and their operations, including rail and highway connections. Federal, state, and local agencies have responsibility for monitoring and regulating these effects, which include air pollution, noise, and the effects of vessel operations on terrestrial and aquatic communities. Because port facilities and their land transportation connections are owned, operated, and regulated by a mix of private and public entities at all jurisdictional levels, many of the data pertaining to the environmental performance of the MTS remain site- and program-specific.

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The Marine Transportation System and the Federal Role: Measuring Performance, Targeting Improvement - Special Report 279 � � � � � � The data are often not conducive to tracking environmental performance over time and space—information that would be helpful in assessing the overall accomplishments of the many federal programs and in establishing shared program goals. The idea of measuring and monitoring environmental performance in a comprehensive manner is not new, and prominent examples of such “benchmarking” efforts exist. One is the National Coastal Condition Report (EPA 2001). The Environmental Protection Agency collaborates with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey in preparing these reports, which contain data on water and sediment quality, biota, habitat, and ecosystem integrity that are summarized into indices of the overall condition of the nation’s navigable waters and coastlines. The indices in the report are intended to provide benchmarks for monitoring changes in coastal conditions over time and an overall assessment of the need for federal attention in improving coastal conditions. Federal efforts to improve the environmental performance of the MTS must be viewed from multiple perspectives and take into consideration the roles of the many agencies with related responsibilities. A great deal of information is being gathered that can shed light on performance; however, the information must be made accessible and useful to policy makers. PERFORMANCE IN FACILITATING COMMERCE The provision of waterway infrastructure is a federal responsibility to a greater extent than any other component of the MTS. State and local governments provide the highway connections and much of the landside infrastructure at ports. The merchant vessels operating on the waterways and the shippers that employ them are nearly all private. Therefore, the public sector must be attentive to the use and performance of the system in facilitating commerce. Monitoring and measuring MTS performance in facilitating commerce at the national level present numerous challenges. In 2001, the

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The Marine Transportation System and the Federal Role: Measuring Performance, Targeting Improvement - Special Report 279 � � � � � � Transportation Research Board (TRB) and its Marine Board held a 2-day workshop consisting of more than 70 participants from the port and waterway community.1 They sought measures and indicators of waterway performance and capacity at the national level. However, they found that most of the available information focuses on the performance and needs of specific components of the system, such as locks, harbor channels, and ports. Little information is collected on the overall performance of the MTS in facilitating commerce, which is essential for focusing federal efforts in furthering this national interest. The kinds of data and analyses available for assessing the condition and performance of particular components of the MTS are discussed in the following subsections, along with the results of recent federal and industry efforts to examine needs from a broader perspective. Waterway Infrastructure Needs and Performance For nearly 30 years, the Corps of Engineers, through its Navigation Data Center, has gathered, analyzed, and published statistics on the physical and operational characteristics of its individual lock chambers. The information includes each lock’s age and dimensions, the number and types of vessels lifted, quantities of cargo passing through, the number of delayed vessels and tows, the incidence of unscheduled closures, and the duration of delays. The data are used to calculate various statistics on each lock’s performance, such as the total hours of accumulated delay, percentage of all vessels and tows delayed, average processing time, and average duration of delays. The Lock Performance Monitoring System data, which are rich in detail, are used by the Corps of Engineers to monitor the performance of each of its locks and analyze proposals to upgrade specific locks and lock systems. The Inland Waterways Users Board uses the data as part of its 1 See Testimony of Rodney Gregory before the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Marine Transportation, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, U.S. House of Representatives, May 23, 2001 (submitted for the record on June 14, 2001). The testimony reports the results of the April 23, 2001, TRB Seminar on Waterway and Harbor Capacity, which Mr. Gregory chaired.

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The Marine Transportation System and the Federal Role: Measuring Performance, Targeting Improvement - Special Report 279 � � � � � � efforts to prioritize lock improvements in recommendations to Congress. To a limited extent, the data are used by the corps to track and model trends in the pattern of system usage and the frequency and magnitude of delays over entire river systems, such as the Upper Mississippi River system. However, the data are not used on a regular basis to track system-level trends in the performance of the inland system—information that could be helpful to policy makers in assessing overall investment requirements for the MTS. With regard to harbor channels, Congress has charged the Corps of Engineers with undertaking regular national dredging needs studies that project future cargo growth, vessel sizes, and vessel usage. Included in these studies are evaluations of existing and planned channel depths, the types and sizes of ships in use today and forecast for use in the future, and world trade projections. The corps’ extensive databases on waterborne commerce (e.g., Waterborne Commerce Statistics series) and vessel fleet characteristics (e.g., Waterborne Transportation Lines of the United States) are used in making these projections. These databases are valuable in documenting use of the MTS. Over the years, the dredging needs studies have proved helpful to the corps in promoting its dredging program. For example, the May 2003 report estimates that 40 percent of containership calls will be constrained by 2020 without planned dredging projects (USACE 2003). It further estimates that only 4 percent of these calls would be constrained if all planned dredging projects are funded and completed. However, the regular dredging needs studies do not take into account the effect of factors other than channel dimensions on MTS usage. Channel dimensions are not the only constraint on demand, and dredging is not the only, or a sufficient, means of accommodating future demand. From the standpoint of federal policy making, consideration must be given to other factors that affect system use, including the capacity and performance of ports and their intermodal connections. Port and Intermodal Access Needs and Performance Congress requires MARAD to report on the status of the public ports every 2 years. The reports include statistics (derived from Corps of Engi-

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The Marine Transportation System and the Federal Role: Measuring Performance, Targeting Improvement - Special Report 279 � � � � � � neers data) on the trade flowing through the sea and inland waterway ports, capital expenditures by facility type, port funding sources, and estimates of the economic impact of ports. However, the reports seldom attempt to measure port performance or identify specific port needs. Twice during the 1990s, the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) surveyed its members on their most significant needs. The needs cited most frequently in the first survey, conducted in 1993, were facility financing, compliance with environmental regulations, dredging and material disposal, new revenue sources, and railroad and highway access improvements. Similar needs were identified in a survey conducted by the association in 1999 (see Table 5-1). In 2000, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration attempted to examine, in a systematic manner, all the highway connectors that serve the nation’s port facilities (DOT 2000). The study was requested by Congress. All road segments in the National Highway System that connect to ports were studied. Each was examined and then ranked on the basis of objective criteria for pavement quality, geometry (e.g., turning radii, shoulders), traffic service levels, and other physical and operational characteristics. The study found that 20 percent of the mileage had multiple geometric and physical deficiencies and that 10 percent regularly experienced heavy traffic congestion and delays. On the basis Table 5-1 Results from Surveys of AAPA-Member Ports on Their Needs, 1993 and 1999 1999 Survey 1993 Survey 1. Facility expansion and modernization 1. Facility development and capital requirements 2. Ability to secure funding and financing 2. Environmental regulation 3. Pricing pressures and new revenue sources 3. Dredging and disposal 4. Environmental regulation 4. Pricing pressures and new revenue sources 5. Railroad and highway intermodal access 5. Railroad and highway intermodal access 6. Global economic trends 6. Land acquisition and site development 7. Land acquisition 7. Pressures on use of waterfront property 8. Dredging and disposal 8. Labor costs and union work rules 9. Federal legislation and regulation 9. Federal legislation and policies 10. Introduction of larger ships 10. Pressures from state and local government Source: AAPA 1999.

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The Marine Transportation System and the Federal Role: Measuring Performance, Targeting Improvement - Special Report 279 � � � � � � of these criteria, the report rated 15 percent of the highway mileage connecting to ports as in “poor” or “very poor” condition. In August 2001, MARAD reported findings from its own survey of intermodal access conditions at 15 U.S. container ports (MARAD 2001). Ports receiving the questionnaire were asked to rate aspects of the intermodal system (e.g., turning radii on local roads, availability of on-dock rail) on a scale from “excellent” to “very poor.” The condition of access roads and grade crossings was most often cited as “poor” or “very poor.” Assessments of Overall MTS Performance in Facilitating Commerce In recent years, efforts have been undertaken by both public and private entities to assess the performance of the MTS as a whole with regard to national commerce. The MTS Task Force sought to do so through a series of conferences involving participants from the maritime industry, labor, and government agencies (DOT 1999). It identified the following needs: Deeper and wider channels to accommodate more and larger ships; Modernized locks and dams to increase service reliability, capacity, and speed; New information and navigation technologies to integrate the supply chain and security and safety systems; and More efficient use of land for marine terminal operations and environmental protection. More recently, MARAD sponsored a study aimed at identifying infrastructure needs to achieve the “national goals” of capacity expansion and congestion relief; system efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness; and reduced negative quality of life effects (MARAD 2003). Public- and private-sector officials from the marine transportation industry were asked to identify their most important infrastructure needs related to these goals. The information was derived from a small and select group

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The Marine Transportation System and the Federal Role: Measuring Performance, Targeting Improvement - Special Report 279 � � � � � � of surveyed individuals; hence, the results cannot be portrayed as representative of the marine transportation community at large. Because the study focused on infrastructure needs, the results provide little, if any, sense of the environmental, safety, and security issues facing the MTS community. The infrastructure needs most commonly reported are shown in Table 5-2, grouped by region. At the same time as the MARAD study, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a report identifying MTS needs and priorities from the perspective of private industry, particularly shippers, carriers, and terminal operators (National Chamber Foundation 2003). It too lacked quantitative evidence and analyses of system performance and needs; it relied primarily on insights gleaned from a panel of shippers, carriers, and other transportation industry experts. Acknowledging the paucity of data on MTS use and performance to inform policy making, the authors urged the creation of a National Freight Data System that would track cargo volumes, identify major freight corridors, and monitor methods of transportation. The purpose of the database would be to allow systemwide assessments of infrastructure requirements to help guide federal funding priorities. SECURITY PERFORMANCE The Coast Guard has primary responsibility for securing the nation’s waterways and enforcing U.S. laws that pertain to them, including interdicting illegal drugs and undocumented migrants and detecting foreign fishing vessel incursions. The Coast Guard collects information to measure its performance in these areas: seizure rates for drugs, estimates of the number of undocumented migrants interdicted or deterred, and the number of detected foreign fishing vessel incursions. MARAD has long published periodic maritime security reports that focus on cargo theft and international criminal activities that pose threats to ports and commercial maritime interests. The data are gathered from the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (Customs), the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and other sources. The advent of the Department of

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The Marine Transportation System and the Federal Role: Measuring Performance, Targeting Improvement - Special Report 279 � � � � � � Table 5-2 MTS National Infrastructure Needs Identified by MARAD (2003) Region Waterside Port Interface Intermodal Support Areas Northeast Increased water depth at major ports to handle fully loaded, large-capacitycontainerships More terminal capacity and efficiency More rail access points between marine terminals and railroad mainlines Security, especially in Port of New York/New Jersey   Availability of U.S.-made vessels for short-sea/barge transshipment for short-sea activity More on-dock rail infrastructure for container operations Less congested roadways in terminal areas and increased access to Interstate highways Greater availability of real-time information on weather and sea conditions to improve the efficiency and safety of vessel movements in busy harbors Southeast Increased water depth at major ports to accommodate larger cargo ships and containerships Greater terminal capacity to meet future growth in cargo and provide alternative to West Coast ports More rail linkages to marine terminals None identified   Improved road access to ports   Great Lakes Continued active maintenance dredging to maintain safe channel depths None identified None identified None identified   Year-round access or lengthening of season       Pacific Northwest Continued active maintenance dredging and lock development to maintain safe channel depths Potential need for increased terminal capacity if demand grows significantly Potential need for increased mainline feeder capacity to support future growth in cargo volumes None identified       Improved linkages between on-dock intermodal terminals and railroad mainlines  

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The Marine Transportation System and the Federal Role: Measuring Performance, Targeting Improvement - Special Report 279 � � � � � �       Less congested roadways in terminal areas and increased access to Interstate highways   West Coast Increased water depth at major ports to handle fully loaded, large-capacity containerships More terminal capacity and efficiency Increased rail access capacity to handle large increases in cargo volume Development of an integrated cargo information system to increase the efficiency of rail, truck, and maritime operations     More on-dock railinfrastructure for container operations Less congested roadways in terminal areas and increased access to Interstate highways Gulf Coast None identified More container storage space at marine terminals Increased Interstate highway capacity to better link ports to the interior More affordable U.S.-made vessels         Greater recognition of intermodalism and policies that integrate the modes Inland waterways More electronic (“intelligent”) aids to navigation More container-on-barge terminal capacity Greater access of inland waterway terminals to rail, highway, and pipeline networks Security measures comparable with those in coastal ports   Continued maintenance dredging of channels, especially in tributaries     More information about potential markets and more awareness among shippers of the advantages of inland waterway transportation   Modernized locks and reduction in backlog of lock maintenance     More integration of inland waterways in regional transportation system planning

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The Marine Transportation System and the Federal Role: Measuring Performance, Targeting Improvement - Special Report 279 � � � � � � Homeland Security (DHS), which houses the Coast Guard, Customs, and the Transportation Security Administration, is expected to prompt more integration and systematic reviews of these security databases to better assess security performance and needs. Research into opportunities for deploying security technologies will also require information on the structure and functioning of the freight system in the United States and abroad. This information is essential for ensuring that the technologies work as intended and to find ways to encourage their use by industry.2 Customs, in particular, has recognized the importance of such information and a system-level understanding. As part of its modernization program, the agency is planning to automate and integrate its varied information systems on imports and exports and shipment manifests (TRB 2003, 70–74). This information, once automated, is expected to provide the agency and DHS with a better understanding of commodity flows and conveyances. Such an understanding will be helpful for enforcement and security planning and may provide insights into the performance of the MTS in facilitating commerce. SUMMARY ASSESSMENT Various databases and sources of information are available to measure and monitor the performance of parts of the MTS. For the most part, however, the databases are disconnected from one another and are designed to meet specific legislative and program requirements. The data are seldom used to address the systemwide issues that decision makers face in allocating resources and responsibilities to the various federal programs in support of marine transportation, and they are not always well suited to this purpose. Much of the information gathered by industry and government on system performance and needs is based on narrowly construed surveys of users, which do not provide a complete and objective 2 See TRB 2002 for a more detailed discussion of the need to understand freight system operations for security.

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The Marine Transportation System and the Federal Role: Measuring Performance, Targeting Improvement - Special Report 279 � � � � � � assessment. The absence of systemwide performance data and the lack of efforts to bring such information together have hindered evaluation of the critical needs facing the marine transportation sector. Such information is needed to guide and assess the effectiveness of federal programs in furthering marine safety, environmental protection, commerce, and national security. REFERENCES Abbreviations AAPA American Association of Port Authorities DOT U.S. Department of Transportation EPA U.S. Environmental Protection Agency FAA Federal Aviation Administration INTERTANKO International Association of Independent Tanker Owners MARAD Maritime Administration TRB Transportation Research Board USACE U.S. Army Corps of Engineers AAPA. 1999. Strategic Planning Survey Summary, 1993 and 1999. Washington, D.C. DOT. 1999. An Assessment of the U.S. Marine Transportation System—A Report to Congress. Washington, D.C., Sept. DOT. 2000. NHS Intermodal Freight Connectors: A Report to Congress. Washington, D.C., July. EPA. 2001. National Coastal Condition Report. Report 620-R-01-005. Washington, D.C. FAA. 2003. Flight Plan 2004 to 2008. U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C. INTERTANKO. 1996. U.S. Port and Terminal Safety Study. MARAD. 2001. Intermodal Access to U.S. Ports: Report on Survey Findings. U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C, Aug. MARAD. 2003. Marine Transportation System Infrastructure Needs Assessment: Vol. 1, Final Report. Prepared by SAIC, Inc., Washington, D.C., May. National Chamber Foundation. 2003. Trade and Transportation: A Study of North American Port and Intermodal Systems. U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Washington, D.C.

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The Marine Transportation System and the Federal Role: Measuring Performance, Targeting Improvement - Special Report 279 � � � � � � TRB. 2002. Special Report 270: Deterrence, Protection, and Preparation: The New Transportation Security Imperative. National Research Council, Washington, D.C. TRB. 2003. Special Report 274: Cybersecurity of Freight Information Systems: A Scoping Study. National Research Council, Washington, D.C. USACE. 2003. National Dredging Needs Study of U.S. Ports and Harbors: Update 2000. Report 00-R-04. Institute of Water Resources, Alexandria, Va., May. Waters, J. K., D. L. Kriebel, and R. H. Mayer. 1999. Analysis of U.S. Coast Guard Accident Data: Impacts of Navigation Trends on Channel Usage and Design. Department of Naval Architecture, U.S. Naval Academy for the Institute of Water Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Aug.