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Strategic Planning of Vessel Traffic Services using ABS Analysis and Optimization

  • A. J. G. Babu (a1) and W. Ketkar (a1)


Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) advise vessels navigating the waterways, VTS communications provide to the mariner timely, pertinent, and accurate information that would assist in safe manoeuvring of the vessel.

Following several oil spills in 1989, Congress passed The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (Public Law 101–380). The Act requires the “Secretary to conduct a study…to determine and prioritize the US ports and channels that are in need of new, expanded, or improved vessel traffic service systems.…”

As required by the Act, the US Coast Guard analysed historical vessel casualties and their consequences and projected future vessel casualties and consequences for 23 study zones. The study uses a benefit–cost approach, VTS benefits are defined as the avoided vessel casualties and the associated consequences. The avoided consequences are measured in physical units and are assigned monetary values, VTS costs are defined as the initial federal investment for a state-of-the-art VTS system in each study zone and its annual operating and maintenance costs. Both the benefits and costs are expressed in the 1993 Net Present Value of annual stream over the life cycle at 10 percent basic annual rate. The study recommends VTS design by rank-ordering the zones by net benefit.

In this paper, we use alternative methodologies for offering better assistance in making VTS design decision-making. First, we perform ABC analysis on the zones; that is, we classify them into three groups: The A group deserves a state-of-the-art, full-fledged VTS presence, the B group could use an intermediate level of VTS services, and the c group deserves an elementary level of VTS services, as and if the budget permits. This analysis assumes that VTS services can be offered at various levels with correspondingly changing costs. Secondly, we perform resource allocation analysis; that is, for a given budget and given criterion (e.g. maximize the total benefit), select the optimal zones in which the VTS services should be offered. This analysis, done for various levels of budget, would form a useful decision aid for the VTS design.



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1 US Coast Guard (1991). Port Needs Study (Vessel Traffic Services Benefits). Final Report of the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, June 1991. [This document is available through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA.]
2 US Coast Guard (1973). Study Report: Vessel Traffic Systems Analysis of Port Needs. US Coast Guard Head Quarters, Washington, DC, August 1973.
3Fabre, F.Klose, A. and Salvarani, R. (1988). Commission of the European Communities. COST 301 Shore-Based Marine Navigation Aid Systems Main Report, Luxembourg.
4 Canadian Coast Guard Study (1984). Vessel Traffic Services Final Report, Ottawa, October 1984. [The study was updated in 1988 as the: VTS Benefit/Cost Update Study].
5Nemhauser, G. L. and Wolsey, L. A. (1988). Integer and Combinatorial Optimization, Wiley, New York.


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Strategic Planning of Vessel Traffic Services using ABS Analysis and Optimization

  • A. J. G. Babu (a1) and W. Ketkar (a1)


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