Due to the simultaneous increase in the operational
parameters of ships and the specialization in
handling units specific to a given port, their operation
for many ports becomes more difficult (Matczak M.
2017, Krośnicka K. 2016, Kaizer A. 2013). Therefore,
the selection of the appropriate variant of the
designed waterway is currently the subject of interest
of port authorities, administration and their future
users as an investment necessary to ensure the safety
of these units and further development of the port
(Gucma S. 2015).
There are many methods of detailed shipping
safety risk assessment (D’Angremond K. 1998,
Dhillon B.S. 2011, Rausand M. 2011), including the
Polish method of dimensioning the width of the safe
maneuvering area of waterways using the
navigational risk models developed at the Maritime
University in Szczecin (Gucma S. 2013). These
methods, however, require detailed statistical or
simulation studies, which are not always used when
designing waterways or determining the conditions
of their safe operation, or are used too generally.
In this paper, the author describes and analyzes
how the concept of selecting a given variant of the
designed waterway in terms of maritime traffic
engineering is understood, which affects the
efficiency and safety of ship traffic after the
investment is completed.
Navigational safety can be defined in a number of
ways (Formela K., Neumann T., Weintrit A. 2019). In
terms of marine traffic engineering, a waterway is a
restricted body of water, adapted and used for the
movement of various types of marine vessels. Marine
traffic engineering deals with the qualitative and
quantitative description of ship traffic in restricted
areas in terms of navigation safety (Gucma S. 2015).
The safety of navigation in relation to the sea route
is the state of the maritime traffic engineering system
related to accident-free routing of the ship in
accordance with the purpose of its voyage, while
maintaining the required traffic parameters (Gucma
Assessment of the Waterway Variant at the Design
Stage in Multiple-criteria Approach
K. Formela
Gdynia Maritime University, Gdynia, Poland
ABSTRACT: The assessment of navigational safety for various variants of waterways, due to the multiplicity of
entities involved in the decision-making process, is a complex and difficult task. Multiple methodologies can be
used to select and arrange projects. A review of the literature leads to the conclusion that the CBA and MCDA
methodologies are most often used. The article presents, the general characteristics of the proposed multi-
criteria methodology assessment of waterway at the design stage.
the International Journal
on Marine Navigation
and Safety of Sea Transportation
Volume 14
Number 4
December 2020
DOI: 10.12716/1001.14.04.27
S. 2015). Therefore, it is a state of the system related to
the accident-free passage of the ship by sea. The basic
condition for navigation on sea waterways is the
safety of navigation, understood as the safety of the
ship and its surroundings during maneuvers in these
waters in terms of the possibility of a navigational
accident (an undesirable event causing damage and
loss (Oltedal, H. A. (Ed.), Lutzhoft, M. (Ed.), 2018)
Factors that may cause accidents on waterways are
their parameters (length, width, depth, clearance
under bridge structures) and the presence of hydro
technical structures on them, as they constitute a
potential source of danger in the event of their
malfunction or improper marking (Jerzyło P.,
Wawrzyńska A. 2018). Another factor that has a
significant impact on the safety of navigation are the
prevailing hydro meteorological conditions as well as
the intensity and intensity of traffic in a given place
and time. The basic hydro meteorological conditions
include: water level, wind, currents, waves,
temperature and precipitation. They cause
unfavorable phenomena for shipping, which not only
may limit navigation and shorten the shipping
season, but may also contribute to the initiation of
adverse events.
Based on this, it can be concluded that in order to
ensure safe navigation by reducing the risk of vessel
traffic on waterways, methods of safety and
navigation risk assessment of should be used.
In the process of maritime transport management,
one of the main tasks within which many decision-
making problems arise is its improvement through
specific projects (Ministerstwo Transportu,
Budownictwa I Gospodarki Morskiej 2013, Żak J.
2015). The selection of the proposed variants of
waterways, or their ordering from the most desirable
to the less important, requires an appropriate analysis
using the selected methodology providing the
appropriate tools (methods). The methodology of the
analysis and the criteria related to it are strictly
dependent on whether the analysis concerns the
assessment of the maritime transport system in the
present state or a project improving this system.
Several postulates have been formulated to
propose a new general approach to the assessment of
waterway projects at the design stage. The most
important of them include:
the possibility of a comprehensive assessment of
variants / projects of various nature,
the possibility of assessing variants / projects
before their implementation, and above all, as a
support for the discussion preceding the approval
of the investor's budget,
possibility of evaluating a large number of
variants / projects of different nature
the possibility of active participation of the
decision-maker / interveners in the decision-
making process,
the possibility of using modern and currently
available computational methods, tools and
computer techniques.
The desired effect of this approach is the list which
presents the considered projects in a ranking, from
the project that has the best impact (has the highest
usability) for navigational safety, to the project that
has the lowest impact on achieving the goal.
The assessment of projects related to the design of
variants of waterways is particularly difficult. The
cause of the difficulties of this issue is due to in
properly defined criteria, for each of the proposed
elements of variants assessed quantitatively or
qualitatively. As a rule, different types of assessment
criteria are used to evaluate different types of
waterways, which results primarily from their
purpose and nature.
The basic measure of assessing variants of design
solutions is the level of meeting the criteria specified
by the decision-maker. In this study, the concept of
decision maker means the investor who decides about
the location of the investment and the final form of
the elements of the waterway, characterized by
specific technical and operational features. Despite
the fact that some of these criteria are difficult to
determine objectively (quantitatively), there is a need
to find a synthetic measure of the technical and utility
values of the facility. The right selection of criteria is
as important as the correct assessment of the level of
their fulfillment, both for the aforementioned
investor, client and a potential user of the waterway.
The decision-makers approach is strongly
influenced by the opinions and assessments of
experts, including in particular maritime traffic
engineers and experienced navigators. Such expert
assessments are often the subject of navigational
analyzes commissioned by the investor. Experts are
expected to make assessments consistent with the
current level of knowledge, reliable, objective and
taking into account the specificity of a given decision-
making situation. However, it is difficult to
unequivocally define individual preferences, value
system and expert motives.
The expert's preferences are largely dependent
also on the point of view of the decision-maker for
whom the analysis is prepared. Other preferences in
terms of the technical and operational conditions of
the facility will be accepted by the investor, client or
user of the waterway.
In the proposed method, the following sequence
of actions was adopted:
establishing the criteria for evaluating variants,
selection of a method for comparing and
prioritizing decision variants,
carrying out computational (simulation) tests,
analysis of the obtained results,
determining the ranking of variants,
development of final conclusions.
The issue of setting criteria is a very specific and
individual issue. It is concentrated in the
questionnaire prepared by the author. Ultimately, the
proposed methodology should allow for quick
determination of the order of the various variants of
the designed waterway under consideration. The
conclusions from this analysis make it possible to
confidently and consciously choose the variant that
best meets the criteria specified in the survey. Figure
4.1 presents a general procedure for assessing
decision variants under the proposed methodology.
Figure 1 Scheme of procedure for the assessment of various
variants of waterways in terms of multiple criteria.
As a result of the survey, it is possible to formulate
and select a basic group of criteria and define their
degrees of importance, due to the preferences
specified by the respondents. A set of criteria,
segregated into groups, their degrees of properties
and preferences defined by decision-makers in
relation to various variants of the designed waterway,
constitute the starting point for the methodology of
evaluation of solutions proposed by the author. Based
on the research results obtained, it is possible to
improve the hierarchy of the considered solutions
and to select the best variant.
Performing the calculation procedure within the
adopted method is possible on the basis of many
different available methods, depending on the
complexity scale of the decision problem under
consideration (selection of the proposed variants of
When carrying out a calculations on the selection
of a waterway variant, a comparative analysis of the
criteria related to the safety of navigation in terms of
maritime traffic engineering can be proposed.
However, provided for the analysis, the criteria
should be confronted with the relevant actual data
from a specific location in relation to the planned
Many different methods are available for design
process, including actual studies, studies with
simulation tools, or a combination of these that have
different capabilities, functions, and applications. The
basic criteria for the classification of simulation
methods used in the study of vessel traffic in limited
areas include the time and type of ship model
Taking into account the time during which the
simulation takes place, these methods are divided
into (Gucma S. 2015):
real Time Simulation (RTS) methods,
fast Time Simulation (FTS) methods.
The simulation methods in the aspect of ship
traffic management are divided into (Gucma S. 2015):
methods using autonomous models,
methods using non-autonomous models.
The use of a simulation tool is able to provide
realistic and accurate results as input for the study
and evaluation of newly constructed waterway
designs. The purpose of design, planning and
evaluation simulations is to identify and reduce
(quantitatively) the risk to the future user operating
on a specific waterway. It also includes a (qualitative)
assessment of the waterway system, technical
specification and maneuvering aspects. Simulation
studies offer a relatively low-cost method that helps
provide solutions to waterway users in an effective
and efficient manner (NRC, 1996).
Simulations can provide a high level of realism as
long as the purpose of the simulation is consistent
with the accuracy of the models. Hence, the accuracy
of ship models, environments and related
navigational aids, along with appropriate planning
and configuration of simulated scenarios, should be
carefully considered by the end user (NRC, 1996).
Before starting the research, it may be necessary to
consult with representatives of the maritime
administration, who have practical professional
knowledge about the analyzed area.
The results of the tests are processed, which
allows for aggregation and import of the collected
criteria to the prepared sheet, in order to use them in
the calculation procedure, analysis of results and
drawing conclusions.
The proposed methodology for the multi-level, multi-
criteria assessment of waterways variants with
different nature is based on the general methodology
of solving multi-criteria decision problems.
As a result of the application of the multi-level
methodology, multi-criteria assessment of variants /
projects, a summary of waterway projects is obtained.
Conclusions from this assessment allow for a safe and
conscious choice of the variant that is closest to meet
the criteria specified in the survey.
The choice of the waterway variant at the design
stage is crucial for the future operation of waterways
and ports, which is part of the research on maritime
transport infrastructure.
D’Angremond K., „Risk Assessment in port planning and
operation including port approaches”. 29th PIANC
Navigation Congress, 1998.
Dhillon B.S., „Transportation Systems Reliability and
Safety”, CRC Press Taylor & Francis Group, New York,
Formela K. and Kaizer A., „The concept of modernization
works related to the capability of handling e class
container vessels in the Port of Gdynia”, [in:] A.
Weintrit & T. Neumann (Eds): Marine Navigation and
Safety of Sea Transportation: Maritime Transport &
Shipping. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group., 2013.
Formela K., Neumann T., Weintrit A.: Overview of
Definitions of Maritime Safety, Safety at Sea,
Navigational Safety and Safety in General. TransNav,
the International Journal on Marine Navigation and
Safety of Sea Transportation, Vol. 13, No. 2,
doi:10.12716/1001.13.02.03, pp. 285-290, 2019
Gucma S., Morskie drogi wodne. Projektowanie i
eksploatacja w ujęciu iżynierii ruchu morskiego.
Gdańsk: Fundacja Promocji Przemysłu Okrętowego i
Gospodarki Morskiej, 2015.
Gucma S, Ślączka W., Zalewski P., Parametry torów
wodnych i systemów nawigacyjnych wyznaczane przy
wykorzystaniu kryteriów bezpieczeństwa nawigacji.
Szczecin: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Akademii Morskiej
w Szczecinie, 2013.
Jerzyło P. and Wawrzyńska A., Identyfikacja czynników
wpływających na bezpieczeńśtwo eksploatacji statku na
śródlądowej drodze wodnej w Delcie Wisły”, Prace
Naukowe Politechniki Warszawskiej, 2018
Krośnicka K., Przestrzenne aspekty kształtowania i
rozwoju morskich terminali kontenerowych. Gdańsk:
Wydawnictwo Politechniki Gdańskiej, 2016.
Matczak M., Polskie porty morskie jako biegun rozwoju
gospodarczego kraju i regionów lokalizacji. Gdynia:
Rada Interesantów Portu Gdynia, 2017.
National Research Council (NRC), 1996. Simulated
Voyages: Using Simulation Technology to Train and
License Mariners. Washington, DC: The National
Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/5065.
Oltedal, H. A. (Ed.), Lutzhoft, M. (Ed.), Managing Maritime
Safety. London: Routledge 2018\
Program rozwoju polskich portów morskich do roku 2020
(z perspektywą do 2030 roku). Warszawa: Ministerstwo
Transportu, Budownictwa i Gospodarki Morskiej, 2013.
Rausand M., „Risk Assessment. Theory, Methods and
Applications”, Wiley, New Jersey, 2011.
Żak J., Wielokryterialne wspomaganie decyzji w
transporcie drogowym. Poznań: Politechnika
Poznańska, 2005