The National Planning Center of Expertise for Inland Navigation (Navigation Planning Center, PCXIN) was established to support the Corps planning program at the national level. The primary mission of the PCXIN is to improve the quality and timeliness of Corps inland navigation planning studies and products. All aspects of the navigation program benefit from the activities and capabilities of the PCXIN.
The Center will supports planning studies that are nationally significant, complex, large in scope and/or are controversial. The purpose is to develop, maintain and apply the best and most appropriate national and regional expertise and science and engineering technology to the planning of inland navigation projects across the Nation.
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The inland navigation community of practice is made up of individuals with expertise across all aspects of navigation. The group emphasizes organizational communication and works to match existing resources with resource requirements by developing policy and doctrine, maintaining a capable workforce, and strengthening national and inter-agency relationships.
The core planning team is made up primarily of economists, engineers, and operations research analysts from the Navigation Planning Center and across the Great Lakes & Ohio River Division. Partnerships with laboratories, educational institutions, and stakeholder groups--including the Tennessee Valley Authority, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Rahall Appalachian Transportation Institute--expand the pool of expertise.
The Center has the following roles and responsibilities:
- Provide inland navigation planning consulting services to Corps districts and major subordinate commands, non-Federal interests and international customers;
- Conduct key analytical components of inland navigation planning studies, or entire studies, as determined by higher authority;
- Provide independent technical review (ITR), of inland navigation planning products as requested and described in the ITR Agreement. Provide advice to HQUSACE, the Corps' laboratories and other stakeholders on significant regional and nation-wide inland navigation planning issues;
- Play a major role in establishing research and development priorities for Corps inland navigation planning;
- Coordinate the development of and participate in training related to inland navigation planning;
- Develop and manage a program of 'lessons learned' through coordination with the Division planning expertise centers by sponsoring workshops, technology transfer, and web-based support.
- Supplement the HQUSACE staff in policy compliance review for inland navigation planning on projects as requested.
- Enhance basic planning expertise throughout the Corps by providing or creating developmental opportunities for individuals having specialized planning expertise in inland navigation planning
The Center primarily focuses on economic evaluation and plan formulation, as well as engineering reliability analysis for navigation structures. The Center has participated in numerous studies involving proposed new waterways, navigation project modifications, navigation project replacements and deep-draft ports.
The Center is also responsible for the Waterborne Commerce Statistics Program in the Great Lakes and Ohio River basins and for additional interdisciplinary studies and research. By relying on a common system database and an established set of computer models, the Center ensures consistency in evaluation.
The Center offers a number services in which staff have substantial expertise and experience:
- Market surveys
- Resource evaluation
- Economic forecasting
- Rate analysis
- Systems modeling
- Lock utilization and capacity analysis
- Risk and reliability analysis
- Externalities of water transportation
- Environmental impacts of tow traffic
- Regional economic development (RED) models
- Information sharing