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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2016, Article ID 8180232, 10 pages
Research Article

The Feasibility of a Land Ferry System to Reduce Highway Maintenance Cost and Associated Externalities

1Nevada Department of Transportation, 1263 South Stewart Street, Carson City, NV 89712, USA
2Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Construction, University of Nevada, 4505 S. Maryland Parkway, P.O. Box 454015, Las Vegas, NV 89154-4015, USA
3Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Administrativas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Avenida Brasil 2830, 2340031 Valparaíso, Chile

Received 16 March 2016; Accepted 29 May 2016

Academic Editor: Viliam Makis

Copyright © 2016 Steve J. Merrill et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study provides an economic evaluation for a Land Ferry, which is a rail system capable of carrying trucks and all other types of vehicles, passengers, and cargo. The Land Ferry system involves a sliding loading system to roll heavy loads onto a flatbed; as a result, loading and unloading of all vehicles and cargo could be accomplished simultaneously. The evaluation for this system included (1) the design of a new track alignment over which the Land Ferry system would run, (2) evaluation of various sources of power, (3) estimation of how many local jobs the Land Ferry would generate, and (4) a benefit-cost analysis. It was estimated that the Land Ferry would create over 45,788 temporary jobs in Nevada during the three-year construction period and 318 permanent jobs during operation. The majority of the benefits were attributed to savings in travel time ($356.4 M), vehicle operating costs ($1000.4 M), reduction of accidents ($544.6 M), and pavement maintenance ($503.2 M). These benefits would be a consequence of the shift of trucks from the highway, thus resulting in higher speeds, decrease fuel consumption, and decrease vehicle maintenance costs. The overall benefit-cost ratio of 1.7 implies a cost-effective project.