Sara Hernandez, left, and Sandra Axioglu
Two College of Engineering researchers are exploring how real-time data on ship movements can be used to help government agencies make better informed decisions about shipping infrastructure to reduce costs and ultimately improve the nation’s supply chain. Can help in making informed decisions.
Sarah Hernandez, associate professor of civil engineering, and Sandra Axioglu, professor of industrial engineering, were awarded $222,039 for their study by the US Army Corps of Engineers Coastal Hydraulics Laboratory at the US Army Engineering Research and Development Center.
Agencies have historically relied on manually collected surveys of shippers and carriers to support their decisions regarding the operational maintenance and infrastructure needs of waterways and ports. Detailed information about the movement of goods and ships is important when scheduling lock and dam repairs, channel dredging and other maintenance, but the way the data is processed means it is available until it is about two years old Not there.
Hernandez and Axioglu will use anonymized vessel data collected by the US Coast Guard to make predictions about waterway and port traffic, giving the agencies more accurate information on waterborne commerce trends.
“This work is exciting to our team because it fills an important gap in the types of data available for strategic decision-making,” said principal investigator Hernandez. “Our teams work to use existing data sets in new and exciting ways to close the data gaps that prevent transportation and other government agencies from making better informed decisions.”
The Coast Guard collects mandatory Automatic Identification System data for purposes of safety and navigation. Axioglu, co-principal investigator, said that using the data represents a predictably cost-effective way to gain insight into critical goods supply chains.
“This work will provide real-time insight into how our inland and coastal waterways operate within freight supply chains in the US,” she said.
More efficient management of waterways would make them a more competitive option for shipping, the researchers say, potentially meaning reductions in the cost of food, construction products and other consumables.
The research team includes Sanjeev Bhurtyal, a Ph.D. Are included. candidate in civil engineering, and Hiu Bui, Ph.D. Candidate in Industrial Engineering.