MTI Report 12-02

Research Report 2012 Census of California Water Transit Services (PDF 1.7MB)

Principal Investigator: Richard M. Kos, AICP


The U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics conducts a nationwide census of ferry boat operators for the U.S. Department of Transportation and the collected information is used for statistical purposes. The Caltrans Division of Local Assistance has been asked by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to gather data regarding ferry operations under MAP-21, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act. MAP-21 includes a new formula program for ferry boats and ferry terminal facilities eligible under 23 USC 129(c) which authorizes federal participation in toll roads, bridges, tunnels, and ferries. FHWA has asked that Caltrans assure the ferry boat data is current for MAP-21.

The Mineta Transportation Institute was contacted by Caltrans to conduct this research. The research team compiled a spreadsheet and accompanying maps that include ferry boats, routes, and operators along with a number of related characteristics including ownership (public or private), daily trip counts, regulation of fares, terminal locations (street address and coordinates), boarding statistics, and route segment lengths. The spreadsheet contains fields that will allow it to be linked in a Geographic Information System to Caltrans Earth software for further analysis. Additionally, where relevant, the report includes a brief description of expansion plans for certain ferry service providers.


Richard M. Kos, AICP

Richard Kos is certified urban planner and Geographic Information Systems expert. After earning a BS degree in Environmental Planning and Design from Rutgers University, Mr. Kos put his skills into practice with local governments in New Jersey and North Carolina, serving as Assistant or Senior Planner for a number of rapidly-growing communities. He earned his Masters degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2000, Mr. Kos served as a transportation planner and GIS Analyst with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in Oakland where he produced numerous maps related to welfare-to-work and lifeline transportation projects. From there, Mr. Kos spent four years as GIS Manager for DC&E, an innovative planning and design firm in Berkeley. In 2008, Mr. Kos decided to bring his skills into academia where he currently teaches graduate-level Geographic Information Systems and studio-based community improvement projects at San Jose State University. Mr. Kos also teaches short-term GIS workshops at City College of San Francisco and the California Academy of Art, and offers his consulting services to a variety of clients including Mobility Planners, the City of Mountain View, and WorldLink.

Maria-Louise Javier

A native of the Bay Area, Ms. Javier earned her Bachelors Degree in Conservation Resource Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research experiences focus on waste management and education. She has presented her work at two professional conferences and stood on a panel for sustainable college practices. After graduation, Ms. Javier volunteered in Tanzania, Africa before working in the outdoor education field as a naturalist for two years. She is now working on her Masters Degree in Urban Planning from San Jose State University. In addition to her work with the Mineta Transportation Institute, Ms. Javier is currently an intern with the City of Fremont Environmental Services Division working on the city's municipal solid waste program. She aspires to work in the urban planning field before pursuing a professorship at the junior college level. Her passion is to plant seeds of thought and action into the next generation. Ms. Javier led the research effort in collecting and organizing the water transit operator data for this report.

Brent Carvalho

A self-professed “mapaholic”, Mr. Carvalho is currently earning a Masters Degree in Urban and Regional Planning at San Jose State University with a focus on community design and development. His passion for mapping has its roots in an introductory GIS class taken with Mr. Kos and he produced all of the maps for this report. Mr. Carvalho received his BA in Humanities with a minor in Human Sexuality Studies from San Francisco State University in 2005 and became a U.C.C.E. Certified Master Gardener for Santa Clara County in 2011. Understanding food systems and how they operate in our urban and rural landscapes has been his primary research interest.

Asha W. Agrawal, Ph.D.

Dr. Agrawal is the Director of the MTI National Transportation Finance Center and also an Associate Professor and Chair of Urban and Regional Planning at San José State University. Her research and teaching interests in transportation policy and planning include transportation finance, pedestrian and bicycle planning, and planning and transportation history. She has a B.A. from Harvard University in Folklore and Mythology, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and Political Science in Urban and Regional Planning, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in City and Regional Planning. For a complete listing of her publications, see


Authors: Richard M. Kos, AICP, Maria-Louise Javier, Brent Carvalho and Asha W. Agrawal, Ph.D.
Published: December 2012
Keywords: Water transit; Water transportation; Census; Survey; California