Vessel Route Choice Model and Operational Model based on Optimal Control

Yaqing Shu

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

59 Downloads (Pure)


Modeling is a promising approach to understand and predict the safety and efficiency of maritime traffic in ports and waterways. Different types of models have been developed over the years. Nevertheless, several important scientific challenges still remain. For instance, few models consider vessel behavior in ports and waterways under the influence of internal factors including vessel type and size, and external factors, such as wind and visibility. More data and research are needed to understand the influence of internal and external factors on vessel behavior including speed, course and path in ports and waterways; more research is also needed to explore human behavior of the bridge team for vessel maneuvering in ports and waterways. To address the needs listed, this thesis focuses on analyzing the influence of wind, visibility, current and vessel encounters on vessel speed, course and path using Automatic Identification System (AIS) data. Based on this analysis a new maritime traffic model has been developed that considers both internal and external factors, and aims to better predict the individual vessel behavior. The model can be used to provide data for the safety and efficiency assessment of vessel traffic in ports and inland waterways. In the last decades, the AIS system, which is an onboard autonomous and continuous broadcast system that transmits vessel data between nearby vessels and shore stations, has been developed. This is used now by almost all vessels. Therefore, AIS data, including vessel speed, course and path, can serve as a valuable data source to investigate vessel behavior. In this thesis, AIS data from a part of the port of Rotterdam is analyzed to investigate influences of different factors, such as vessel size and type, external conditions and vessel encounters, on vessel behavior. Firstly, vessels are distinguished into influenced and unhindered vessels based on certain thresholds that we obtained from the AIS data. The influenced vessel behavior is compared with the behavior of unhindered vessels, which are not influenced by other vessels or strong external influences of wind, visibility and current. The analysis provides evidence showing that the vessel behavior including vessel speed, course and path is influenced by various factors. Ship speed and path is influenced by internal factors (including vessel type, size, waterway geometry and navigation direction) and external factors (including wind, visibility, current, overtaking and head-on encounters), while ship course is only influenced by overtaking and head-on encounters. It can also be concluded that the AIS data is a useful source to get insights into vessel behavior.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Hoogendoorn, S.P., Supervisor
  • Ligteringen, H., Supervisor
  • Daamen, W., Supervisor
Award date12 Sep 2019
Place of PublicationDelft
Print ISBNs978-90-5584-253-7
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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