Washington State Ferries Wait Time Analysis and Rider Experience Study
- Author(s): Weber, Alexandra
- et al.
Washington State Ferries’ Long-Range Plan, published in 2018, outlines the agency’s priorities for the next 20 years. One of the agency’s main goals is to improve the passenger experience for Washington State Ferry passengers. This study focuses on determining which terminals are most likely to experience poor wait time experiences, ways to measure vehicle wait times and how to most effectively disseminate wait time information to passengers in vehicles.The Washington State Ferry (WSF) system allows passengers to drive their vehicle onto the ferry and ride with it to their destination. While a great first-last mile convenience to many, a problem arises when long lines of vehicles queue waiting for the ferry. Currently, vehicles enter the terminal holding area, pay their boarding fee, and wait in line for the next ferry to arrive. WSF is able to calculate the number of vehicles in the holding area based on ticket sales, but when vehicles queue outside the vehicle holding area, the problem of unknown demand arises. Due to this unknown demand, WSF is unable to calculate accurate wait times and convey them to passengers in an efficient manner. This project answers two questions: 1) Which of the twenty WSF terminals are most likely to experience frequent excess demand? and 2) How does the agency measure the excess demand and convey that information to passengers more effectively and equitably?