Maritime Administration (MARAD)

Innovation, Research, and Technology

A strong, competitive maritime industry is vital to the national and economic security strategy of the United States, and modernizing and expanding the Nation’s ports, waterways, and intermodal connections calls for innovative strategies.

The Maritime Administration (MARAD) is advancing the research, development, assessment, and demonstration of emerging technologies to improve the safety and efficiency of U.S. maritime transportation. As a clearinghouse for the latest information on advanced safety and other cutting-edge technologies, MARAD provides the public and maritime stakeholders with solutions to the toughest problems they encounter at sea and on land.

Intelligent Transportation Systems

Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) are redefining the transportation space by leveraging emerging technologies to circumvent traditional infrastructure improvement constraints. ITS technologies are targeted to vehicles and existing infrastructure, as well as integrated applications between the two, to construct intelligent transportation systems that improve transportation system management, operations, safety, and efficiency. Through the CARMA℠ Program, MARAD is leading the development of ITS technologies that facilitate automated freight operations at maritime ports and terminals.

Maritime Environmental and Technical Assistance Program

The Maritime Environmental and Technical Assistance (META) Program fosters the research and development of innovativePort image technologies and concepts that address critical marine transportation environmental challenges. META focus areas include aquatic invasive species, ballast water and underwater hull growth, port and vessel air emissions, and alternative fuels and energy technologies. Through META, MARAD seeks modern and practical solutions to balancing freight, passenger, and environmental concerns with sustainable solutions.

The Maritime Administration (MARAD) is supporting U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) efforts to facilitate a new era of transportation innovation and safety through the CARMA Program.

The CARMA Program is advancing the research and development of cooperative driving automation (CDA) concepts for deployment in existing transportation systems. CDA supports and enables automated vehicles to cooperate through communication between vehicles, infrastructure, and other road users (including pedestrians, cyclists, and micromobility users). An area explored under the CARMA Program’s freight research track is the scope of CDA’s impact to port operations.

Integrating Cooperative Driving Automation into Ports

In partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO), and Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, MARAD is using CARMA open source software to test the integration of CDA technology in U.S. ports.

The Port Cooperative Driving Automation Drayage Truck Development and Testing initiative aims to demonstrate automated driving systems in a port environment. The project is developing proof-of-concept applications with a fleet of four cooperative automated driving system (C-ADS)-equipped heavy vehicles to demonstrate how CDA concepts can increase cargo capacity and the reliability of freight moving through ports. The fleet will perform tasks such as loading and unloading of chassis and containers, U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection point passage, gate passage, and short-haul drayage. The project will also recommend cybersecurity research areas and expand the FMCSA’s freight research framework. This research will draw on experience gained through academic and other partner communities.

MARAD is serving a crucial role in advancing research on CDA-enabled port operations. In keeping with its goal of promoting waterborne transportation expansion and integration with transportation systems as a whole, MARAD continues to develop and apply innovative technologies to the Nation’s waterways.