An entropy maximizing approach to the ferry network design problem

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - ferry, place - australasia, place - urban, planning - network design, ridership - demand


Ferry networks, Maximum utility, Accessibility, Spanning trees


This paper proposes a novel method to address the ferry network design problem (FNDP). Ferry transport is an increasingly important component of public transport, providing mobility for people in large cities with harbours or rivers. It is therefore important that ferry networks are well designed. The connections between ferry stations and the locations of hubs that are optimal for passengers are revealed by the maximum passenger utility spanning tree connecting all ferry stations. This paper harnesses the equivalence between entropy maximisation and utility maximisation to find the maximum passenger utility spanning tree which connects all ferry stations. A small example with five ferry stations illustrates how the spanning tree topology responds to the pattern of passenger demand. Two heuristics for solving the problem are compared for the Sydney Harbour ferry network with 36 ferry stations. One heuristic reveals the most important connections between ferry stations from a passenger perspective. The use of maximum passenger utility spanning trees for ferry network design is discussed.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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