Strengthening Access to NC Ferries to Support Coastal Community Resiliency, Health, and Mobility

The North Carolina (NC) Ferry system is a critical form of both essential and recreational transportation for millions of NC residents and visitors from around the world. At the same time, the ferry system faces challenges such as declining ridership, keeping pace with evolving technology, operations affected by extreme weather events, and lack of sustainable funding sources. The ferry system infrastructure in some places is not fully or efficiently utilized. For example, while all ferries allow walk-on passengers, many are oriented to vehicle transport, which does not maximize passenger occupancy. None of the current ferry terminals loffer public transit service and pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure is limited in many locations. Prior studies have examined NC ferry operations and made recommendations regarding the ways in which future passenger ferries can enhance ridership and improve operations, including by building connections to existing shuttle terminals and extending transit services. But these studies have been oriented to tourism and existing business owner interests and do not fully account for the broader community goals related to economic opportunities, health, and transportation access; nor do they account for the unique needs of marginalized populations. In this project, the project's transdisciplinary team will investigate ways in which innovations related to walking, bicycling, and micromobility, transit operations, and mobility on demand (MOD) services may be employed to support North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT)'s work to ensure that transportation projects provide far-reaching and equitable benefits to communities, the economy, and the quality of life and health of North Carolinians. The project team will integrate a broad set of data about community transportation needs and multimodal connectivity options to develop a robust analysis to support short and long-term planning for ferry access and multimodal connectivity. This documentation of literature, stakeholder input, and new analysis will be supportive of decision-making at both the project and policy level regarding ferry integration with multimodal infrastructure and services and identify approaches that could leverage Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funds, Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) funds, and other funding sources.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $195597
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    North Carolina Department of Transportation

    Research and Development
    1549 Mail Service Center
    Raleigh, NC  United States  27699-1549
  • Managing Organizations:

    North Carolina Department of Transportation

    Research and Development
    1549 Mail Service Center
    Raleigh, NC  United States  27699-1549
  • Project Managers:

    Kirby, John

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    UNC-CH New East Building
    Campus Box #3140
    Chapel Hill, North Carolina  United States  27599-3140
  • Principal Investigators:

    Sandt, Laura

  • Start Date: 20210801
  • Expected Completion Date: 20230731
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01778642
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: North Carolina Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: FHWA/NC/2022-20
  • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Aug 4 2021 9:56AM