Foundation Studies

May 24, 2022

Waterborne Competitiveness: U.S. and Foreign Investments in Inland Waterways

The National Waterways Foundation (NWF) commissioned a study by Eno Center for Transportation that concludes that the ability for the U.S. to maintain a position of strength depends on a regular assessment of infrastructure needs and multimodal development strategies. Aging infrastructure and competition from other countries’ inland waterway networks pose risks to the economic and national security advantage long enjoyed by shippers and the broader U.S. economy. 

January 1, 2022

A Modal Comparison of Domestic Freight Transportation Effects on the General Public: 2001–2019

In January 2022, the National Waterways Foundation (NWF) commissioned an update of its study comparing selected impacts of utilizing inland waterways barge transportation to highway and rail transportation. was conducted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s Center for Port and Waterways. Originally conducted and peer-reviewed in 2007, the study was also previously updated in 2011 and 2017 when data sets were available.  The 2022 update addresses cargo capacity, congestion, emissions, energy efficiency, safety, and infrastructure impacts. 

August 1, 2018

How Project Selection in the Corps of Engineers is Affected by Benefit-Cost Ratio Analysis

Conducted by the Center for Ports & Waterways at Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), this National Waterways Foundation (NWF) study examines how Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) is conducted by the Corps and compared with other Federal Agencies (Department of Transportation (DOT)’s Tiger Grant program; the Department of the Interior (DOI), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The study also examines Remaining Benefit Remaining Cost (RBRC) Ratio vs. the Benefit-Cost Ratio (BCR) metric as a way to evaluate Corps’ navigation projects under construction.

October 1, 2017

The Impacts of Lock Outages

The National Waterways Foundation (NWF), in cooperation with the Maritime Administration (MARAD), released this study to examine the economic impacts of unscheduled lock outages that highlight economic benefits associated with reliable inland waterways navigation. The study was conducted by the Center for Transportation Research at the University of Tennessee, and the Vanderbilt Engineering Center for Transportation and Operational Resiliency at Vanderbilt University.

January 1, 2017

A Modal Comparison of Domestic Freight Transportation Effects on the General Public: 2001-2014

Conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute, Center for Ports and Waterways, this study compares selected societal, environmental, and safety impacts of utilizing inland river barge transportation to highway and rail transportation for the years 2001-2014. The study was updated in January 2017. Its findings show that waterways transportation keeps our nation's commerce on the move in the safest, most fuel-efficient, environmentally sound way.

November 1, 2014

Inland Navigation in the United States: An Evaluation of Economic Impacts and the Potential Effects of Infrastructure Investment”

The U.S. is on the brink of a watershed era where transportation planning tools will be of increased importance. For example, as a direct result of large and unforeseen increases in available and affordable domestic energy resources and other areas of opportunity, there is a growing sense that the U.S. economy can look forward to increasing productivity and attendant prosperity. Realizing this opportunity requires the nation’s transportation sector to adapt accordingly.

June 1, 2012

Cost of Project Delays: An Estimate of Foregone Benefits and Other Costs Related to Schedule Delays of Inland Waterways Projects”

This 2011-2013 study, "Cost of Project Delays: An Estimate of Foregone Benefits for Inland Waterways Projects" by HDR Decision Economics looks at societal cost resulting from delays to inland waterways infrastructure projects, the benefits foregone from those delays, and the costs imposed by those delays.

January 1, 2011

Toward a Full Accounting of the Beneficiaries of Navigable Waterways"

This January 2011 study, performed by the University of Tennessee, Center for Transportation Research for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, looks as the range of potential beneficiaries of America's inland waterway pools and channels. It examines two specific projects: Chickamauga and Kentucky Reservoirs.

January 1, 2022

Powerpoint Presentation: A Modal Comparison of Domestic Freight Transportation Effects on the General Public: 2001-2019

This PowerPoint presentation captures the key elements of the January 2022 updated study, “A Modal Comparison of Domestic Freight Transportation Effects on the General Public: 2001-2019” conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute, Center for Ports and Waterways.