Document Type

Research Report

Publication Date

Fall 9-2021


The Island of Martha’s Vineyard relies on the transport of goods and people via Steamship Authority Vessels operating from Woods Hole in Falmouth, MA. The purpose of this research project was to study the feasibility of expanding the waterborne distribution of non-bulk freight between mainland Massachusetts and the island of Martha’s Vineyard. The study focused on understanding the congestion and emissions impacts resulting from any change in port(s) of origin. Based on an analysis of information gathered from the Steamship Authority, interviews, document reviews, and the MOVES tool, this study concluded that (1) the Port of New Bedford is suited, based on location and existing infrastructure, to serve as an additional port for freight ferry service — though upgrades to existing infrastructure would be required, (2) impacts to traffic volume resulting from transporting some percentage of freight through an off-Cape port would be minimal, and (3) operating a freight ferry roughly three trips/day from New Bedford, as modeled in this analysis, would increase emissions as compared to the current scenario of all non-bulk freight passing through Woods Hole.

Community Engaged/Serving

Part of the UMass Boston Community-Engaged Teaching, Research, and Service Series. //



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