Since 2002, the establishment of intelligent infrastructure on European rivers has been part of the TEN-T programme, through RIS (River Information Services) initiatives.
A new dimension of coordination and cooperation was launched in 2006 with IRIS Europe (Implementation of River Information Services in Europe) — the first multinational TEN-T project of its kind, aimed at improving RIS across nine EU Member States. The original IRIS Europe project was concluded in December 2008, but the work now continues in the follow-up pilot project IRIS Europe II.
The IRIS Europe II project includes nine EU Member States and four cooperation partners, which means it covers the width of Europe from east to west. It focuses on further enhancement and fine-tuning of key RIS technologies, services and applications, concentrating on four main thematic areas:
- Fairway Information Services (FIS): FIS services, traditionally provided through paper charts and VHF radio, provide dynamic geographical, hydrological and administrative data that are used by skippers and fleet managers to plan and monitor a journey.
- Traffic and transport-related RIS services
- Technical and Administrative Agreement for international data exchange
- Quality of Information Services for RIS
The project aims to significantly contribute to a harmonised RIS implementation at European level.
Benefits of the project
The IRIS II project is bringing forward the implementation of RIS services across Europe as envisaged by the European Commission’s RIS Directive, adopted in 2005.
The project has had a positive effect on inland waterway navigation, making it more attractive as an alternative means of transporting goods across Europe. In particular, the project:
- Increases the safety of inland navigation – accurate positioning of vessels in canals and rivers means fewer collisions and makes it possible to safely navigate even in adverse weather conditions, such as heavy fog.
- Increases the efficiency of inland navigation and makes it more environmentally friendly – through better journey planning, operators will be able to optimise fuel consumption and reduce or eliminate waiting times at locks.
Both land infrastructure and onboard equipment were installed as part of the IRIS II projects. In Slovakia, Hungary and Romania around 375 vessels were equipped with Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponders, with a further 60 Romanian vessels being equipped with electronic chart displays.
Through these efforts, IRIS II has helped increase the attractiveness of inland navigation, and has therefore made it an environmentally friendly alternative to the main transport modes such as road and rail.
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Info and links
Member States involved:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, The Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia
Start date: January 2009
End date: December 2011
Beneficiaries & Implementing bodies:
Ministries of Transport of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, The Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia
via donau - Österreichische Wasserstrassen-Gesellschaft mbH (Project coordinator)
View the info page about this project