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Ferry Service Typologies 11 there is a gap in the transportation network. Private systems operate in the same fashion but without public subsidies; therefore, they tend to be located in places where demand is high enough to generate a profit. A public/private system is one in which a public entity subsidizes the operation of a private contractor. · Existing, expanding, or new ferry systems. Systems can be categorized according to whether they are expanding operations (adding more trips or routes to an existing service), launch- ing a new service, or maintaining an existing level of service (e.g., the Staten Island Ferry in New York). Ferry Route Typology This report uses three "identifiers" for ferry routes--Ferry Urban, Ferry Intercity, and Ferry Essential --and then uses a further typology that can be applied to the ferry route identifiers. Given the wide range of ferry services operating in the United States, understanding the different markets for ferry systems is important for making planning decisions about new routes and services. These markets can be considered part of a typology including the follow- ing (Norris, 1994): · Ferry in lieu of bridge or tunnel. While bridges and tunnels have replaced many ferry sys- tems, some systems have not been replaced. More recently, ferry systems have been initiated to avoid constructing a new bridge or tunnel. The ferry service is seen as a lower cost, more efficient alternative to costly infrastructure projects. Good examples include the Washington State Ferry System, where the state purchased the existing private ferry operators until fixed links could be built. A few years later, policymakers decided to abandon new bridges in favor of continuing the ferry system. · Ferry in lieu of parallel highway or rail. Where land availability is constrained or building a new highway or rail route is too costly, the decision to maintain or implement a ferry service is selected. BC Ferries Inland Passage service between Prince Rupert and Port Hardy serves isolated coastal and island communities including Bella Coola, Bella Bella, Klemtu, and Shearwater and is an example of this type of service. The Alaska Marine Highway System also operates on the Alaska portion of the Inland Passage from Prince Rupert to Skagway, with about a dozen stops along the routes (BC Ferries, 2010). · Ferry to island(s). One of the fundamental tasks of ferry systems is to serve areas without other means of access. Connecting islands with the mainland is a common service of many ferries in the United States and is also the backbone for many systems that provide other commuter- oriented routes. Examples include ferry service to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket (MA), Washington Island (WI), and Mackinac Island (MI), and ferry service in the U.S. Virgin Islands. · Ferry in addition to parallel bridge or tunnel. Water transportation services often operate in parallel with existing bridges or tunnels. Older systems rely on ridership gained from years of operation, while newer systems can be implemented to provide additional commuting op- tions when bridges and tunnels are congested. The best example of this policy decision is the Golden Gate Ferry System. More than 40 years ago, the Bridge District directors decided to increase corridor capacity by instituting a ferry system rather than adding highway and bridge capacity. Today the ferry services provide about 1,600 seats during the peak hour, or the same capacity as about three-quarters of a highway lane. New York implemented a similar policy in the mid-1980s, using ferries to increase cross-Hudson capacity rather than adding new high- way lanes. Also in New York, the Staten Island Ferry continues to operate despite the opening of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in the 1960s. The Staten Island Ferry continues to provide a direct and fast trip relative to the less direct highway. · Ferry in addition to parallel highway or rail. Similar to ferries that operate along with a par- allel bridge or tunnel, ferry service may be introduced parallel to highway or rail to provide
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12 Guidelines for Ferry Transportation Services Table 3-1. Ferry service definitions and characteristics. Service and Planning Characteristics In Lieu of In Lieu of In Addition to In Addition to Bridge/ Parallel Parallel Parallel Tunnel Highway/Rail To Islands Bridge/Tunnel Highway/Rail Transit Ferry Service Ferry Urban Definition Ferry Intercity Highway Ferry Essential Primary Characteristics Secondary Characteristics congestion relief, to encourage alternative forms of transportation to the automobile, or to be a mitigation measure for landside developments. A pilot project to operate ferries between Oceanside and San Diego in California was attempted in 2003, but was terminated due to low ridership. Both parallel rail service and a high-speed freeway served the same corridor. · RO-RO ferry as highway link. RO-RO ferries provide connections for automobiles and trucks between roads and highways on opposite sides of water bodies without bridges or tunnels. Ser- vices are initiated in areas where traffic volume is too low to warrant a bridge or environmen- tal concerns preclude a road crossing. Examples include the Connecticut-to-Long Island ferry services, BC Ferries, Alaska Marine Highway System, and Washington State Ferries. Table 3-1 summarizes ferry service and planning characteristics as identified in previous research and studies and synthesizes them into an approach that is used in this report.