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Conceptional Analysis for Transportation on Rivers

European Union
Complete with results
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Transport mode
Waterborne icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues
Transport sectors
Passenger transport


Background & Policy context

Inland waterways in Europe are under-utilised for the routine transportation of passengers and goods, with bulk goods and recreational travel being the main activities. The capacity exists to take significantly more traffic, thereby reducing congestion on the roads and decreasing air pollution. Therefore we need to identify and solve the technical, economic, organisational and other barriers to shifting demand onto the waterways.


CATRIV aimed to identify the conditions for economic, environmental and technical viability of an inland waterborne high-speed transportation system for passengers and goods.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Commission; Directorate-General for Energy and Transport (DG TREN; formerly DG VII)
Type of funding
Public (EU)


The project conducted a series of assessments, complemented by demonstration projects in Amsterdam, Lisbon and Venice.

For passenger transport, the tourist market segment has the greatest potential. Commuters can also be targeted, provided the level of fares and integration with other modes ensures no loss of time or money. However, considerable volumes of demand are needed if the services are to be economically viable, and this requires direct linkage with the main urban transport interchanges.

The project made a series of recommendations concerning the technical design of vessels, aimed at ensuring high levels of safety, efficiency and low wash. For passengers, catamaran designs equipped with water jets and diesel-electric engines were favoured for their speed, wash and passenger handling capabilities. For freight, the monohull vessel seems to remain the best solution. Possible crash situations were analysed, and designs proposed for prevention and protection.

For goods transport, the waterways are increasingly finding special market segments for higher value cargoes, such as container transfer, courier services, and supplies to hospitals and construction sites. Wholesale markets, retail chains, paper-consuming industries and materials recycling have also been identified as promising markets.

The project identified around 100 cities in Europe where waterborne transport is already used and could be intensified. The number of additional cities with potential market opportunities was estimated at 100-200, covering both the European Union and Eastern Europe.

Policy implications

CATRIV identified a series of policy actions that would facilitate the emergence of waterborne services, such as:

  • harmonising rules and regulations concerning vessel safety and environmental damage (such as wash/erosion);
  • integrating waterborne transport into the existing tariff systems of public transport;
  • applying similar conditions for financial subventions as already apply to bus and rail services;
  • developing interchanges that integrate the waterways into the hubs of the public transport network.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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