#213 Waterways-Intelligent System Project Scope

Principal Investigator
Art Boni
Start Date
Sept. 1, 2008
End Date
Oct. 1, 2009
Research Type
Grant Type
Grant Program
Private Funding
Grant Cycle
Old Projects


Under the proposed Traffic 21 project, we propose to initiate work that will pave the way for a successful launch of the TIGER GRANT W-ITS project. Specifically, the proposed Traffic 21 project will consist of two elements
a. Development of detailed specifications and evaluation criteria for the proposed WiMax infrastructure along with preparation of requests for quotes from WiMax vendors and other relevant infrastructure providers 
b. Business plan incorporating a go to market strategy and sustainable business model for a to-be-defined entity responsible for operating and maintaining the proposed W-ITS infrastructure
The nation’s Waterways consist of 12,000 miles of commecially navigable rivers comprising 27 river systems in 38 states moving $70 billion in cargo annually through 200 sets of locks and dams. The Waterways move 14% of the nation’s intercity freight, approximately 624 million tons of cargo a year. The Waterways, when operating efficiently, can alleviate the need for highway expansion and reduce environmental degradation. In particular, our national waterway system provides the most energy efficient mode of transportation with a barge moving one ton of cargo 576 miles per gallon of fuel – compared to 413 miles by rail, 155 by truck – with fewer accidents, fatalities, oil spills and emissions than rail or trucks moving comparable ton-miles. Each 15-barge tow takes the equivalent of 1,050 trucks off of the roads. 
While this transportation mode remains economically critical to the nation, its safety and communications infrastructure are still based on mid-20th century technologies of radios and radar.  
This proposal is about the deployment of a seamless wireless infrastructure necessary to propel this strategic infrastructure into the 21st century and enable key actors to benefit from seamless and affordable access to a broad range of badly needed information services and applications.
Specifically, under the proposed project, Carnegie Mellon University will provide technical assistance to the Port of Pittsburgh Commission (PPC) in (a) the design and evaluation of technical options available for the initial deployment (“Phase 1 deployment”) of a “Waterways - Intelligent Transportation System” as outlined in a USDOT TIGER grant application submitted earlier this year by the PPC and (b) the development of a commercialization and go to market strategy  incorporating a sustainable business model to finance its extension for implementation and execution. 
The proposal submitted by the PPC to USDOT has the support of all relevant stakeholders, including the US Army Corps of Engineers, the US Coast Guard, and the American Waterways Operators. It includes a request for $35.21 million to support the initial deployment of a WiMax infrastructure over a significant portion of the Mississippi, Illinois, Tennessee and Ohio Rivers and their respective tributaries (“Waterway – Intelligent Transportation System” or “W-ITS”).. The project submitted to USDOT would include deployment of two navigation technologies across the inland waterways of the US. The technical content of the grant application  was based, in part, on two PPC-CMU Practicum projects, one titled “The Wireless Waterway” (which proposed wireless broadband for the inland waterway) and one titled “River-Net” (a navigation communications architecture). The USDOT proposal was submitted in response to requests from industry and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for the PPC to apply for a grant to deploy the Automated Information System (AIS), a short range tracking system for identifying and locating vessels by electronically exchanging data with Vessel Tracking Stations and other nearby vessels.. 
The PPC currently expects to be notified between Dec. 18, 2009 and Feb. 18, 2010  by the USDOT about its TIGER grant appliction. The current expectation is that the project will be funded at some level.  
The “W-ITS” project would deploy Automated Identification System (AIS) and Wireless Broadband (WB) technologies at about 200 river locations throughout the nation’s inland waterways. The project has the backing of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), which has agreed to provide the real estate for the project. Because the project, if awarded, must be substantially completed within two years, the timeline to complete this project is short.   
The PPC expects to expand the system and integrate it into other uses both through the revenues derived from the operation of the asset and from additional grants that will be sought in the future. Specifically, the PPC expects to use the Pittsburgh Region as a demonstration of integration into port security operations and rainfall and water intake environmental monitoring systems, among other uses, including possible integration with CMU’s supercomputing capacities.
Deployment Plan
Expected Accomplishments and Metrics

Individuals Involved

Email Name Affiliation Role Position
boni@andrew.cmu.edu Boni, Art Carnegie Mellon University PI Other


Amount of UTC Funds Awarded
Total Project Budget (from all funding sources)


Type Name Uploaded
Project Brief Boni_-_Waterways__Intelligent_Transportation_System_Project_Scope_and_a_Commercialization_and_Go-To-Market_Strategy__Proposal.doc Aug. 15, 2018, 4:59 a.m.

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