Investigation of Hovercraft Operation in Detroit Weather Conditions

Principal Investigators

  • Dr. Alan Hoback
    University of Detroit Mercy


  • Scott Anderson
    University of Detroit Mercy

Project Dates:

01/2007 to 05/31/2008

Project year: Year 1

MIOH-UTC Project Identifier: TS-2; Project 1

Focus Area:

  • Research: Intelligent Transportation Systems


I-94 on the eastside of Detroit will be rebuilt because of congestion problems.  The congestion will be exacerbated by the rebuilding process that will last three years.  An alternative mode of travel, through relatively inexpensive and fast river hovercraft will be investigated.  This mode of travel, because of its speed and low expense, may be found to be self-sustaining after reopening of I-94.  Thus it would provide a new mode of mass transit travel in Detroit.  Southeast Michigan will embrace this project because of our water culture.  (It is cool to go for a ride on the water.)  The first year of work is an investigation about operation of hovercraft in Detroit Weather Conditions.

The vision is that a high profile transit system in Southeast Michigan will carry riders around construction projects and get much publicity.  Hovercraft could quickly and inexpensively carry riders from suburban park-and-ride centers on the river to downtown.  The publicity may bring calls for expanding the hovercraft downriver when I-75 is rebuilt near the Ambassador Bridge.  Publicity will also increase the political will to sustain transit.  The hovercraft would link with the People Mover and bus lines serving downtown.  This will reduce the parking shortage downtown.  Although this will serve primarily the city Central Business District, the riders could link to the Woodward bus to the New Center area.  This would improve demand and linkages between the current transit systems.

Final Report:

TS2 Final Rpt-Hovercraft Hoback UDM rev 4-13-08.pdf

Total Budget: $18,500


UDM, General Motors Corp.