Evaluating the efficiency of the Washington State Ferry routes using data envelopment analysis Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/z029p840g

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  • This paper uses data envelopment analysis (DEA) to examine the relative technical efficiency of the Washington State Ferry (WSF) routes operating in Puget Sound. This is the largest ferry system in the country. It is publicly operated and does not face direct competition from any other agency, public or private. Therefore whether or not the ferry routes operate efficiently is a natural question. DEA is being used increasingly for measuring technical efficiency in non-profit settings such as health care and education, where prices of inputs and outputs may either be unavailable or artificially set. Because DEA does not require prices to measure efficiency, the technique has an advantage in these arenas. This paper first uses DEA to measure the relative technical efficiency of each WSF route using two different comparison sets. Returns to scale are then evaluated for each route in three successive years (1995-1997). Finally, a Malmquist productivity index is calculated in order to evaluate total factor productivity over the three-year period. For further evaluation this index is then divided into two components: technical change and efficiency change. Overall, the findings show that most of the ferry routes operate in an efficient manner. The results do, however, show routes where there may be room for improvement and they provide a means to pinpointing areas where WSF may want to focus attention when making management decisions.
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