Capacity analysis for bifurcated estuaries based on ship domain theory and its applications

Xingjian Zhang, Junmin Mou, Jianfeng Zhu, Pengfei Chen, Rongfang Rachel Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The bifurcated estuary is an important segment of marine transportation systems that are themselves becoming increasingly important. Because of branching channels, the cyclical change of water levels, and sophisticated operating rules in many large bifurcated estuaries, it is often difficult to estimate the traffic capacity and simulate ships’ motions, even though it is critically important for traffic management and efficiency. In recent years, the increasing number of ships that collect and contribute to the Automatic Identification System (AIS) have made it possible to monitor traffic flow along waterways, including bifurcated estuaries. This study developed a typical capacity estimation model based on ship domain theory. By using AIS data collected in the Yangtze River estuary, a typical bifurcated estuary system, the study analyzed various physical characteristics, weather conditions, and vessel characteristics to derive related impacts of each on overall capacity of the bifurcated estuary. Validated with practical observations, the method can be applied to similar estuary channel systems to improve waterway operations and management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-64
Number of pages9
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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