The information technology described is a U.S. Coast Guard vessel movement reporting system, known as a vessel traffic service. This group decision support system aids vessel operators to navigate a treacherous portion of the Mississippi River from the Gulf of Mexico to Baton Rouge. Voluntary participants provide inputs for a computer simulated tracking of vessels and receive relevant information about marine traffic from the system. Two time series regression models explain changes in system performance as specified by objective, quantitative criterion variables known as critical success factors. One model relates changes in the safety criteria (vessel accidents) with utilization of the vessel traffic service, and the other regression explains changes in system utilization with factors which dictate use. Despite initial criticism that this decision support system was technically flawed because it did not use radar or television to establish the real-time presence and progress of vessel traffic, this research provides evidence that the vessel traffic service has been very effective in reducing vessel accidents on the lower Mississippi River. In terms of public policy analysis, the findings suggest that not only are utilization levels of these systems important, but also their very presence is crucial for vessels wishing to avail themselves of the service. The presence of the system provided measurable benefits, while the absence of the vessel traffic system precipitated higher accident rates through lower user participation after its eventual reinstatement.

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00490245
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-041 044
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 31 1989 12:00AM