For more than 40 years, the Alaska Marine Highway System has maintained and operated a vehicle ferry service that provides critical transportation needs throughout coastal regions of Alaska. They are now implementing plans to markedly improve ferry service in Southeast Alaska and Prince William Sound. High speed Ro-Ro ferries, or fast vehicle ferries, are an important part of these improvements. Such ferries have been used successfully in other regions of the world, but this is the first US application of fast ferries for year-round Ro-Ro service. This paper discusses why speed is important to economical improvements in Alaska transportation, outlines some of the critical features of the fast vehicle ferry design, and provides insight into the decision-making process to date.
Full paper: 2002-01_TRBAnnualMtg_FastVehcileFerriesforAMHS
Authors: Gary Smith (Alaska Marine Highway System); Robert J. Van Slyke (Glosten); Ken Harford (Robert Allan)