Skip to main content
European Commission logo

Efficient inland navigation information system

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


Background & Policy context

While the lower speed of inland waterborne transport may not be a serious disadvantage in competition with trucks suffering from road congestion, the lack of penetration of inland navigation is an important policy problem that can be solved by improved inter-modal organisation. The introduction of a River Information System (RIS) has the potential to increase the capacity of the waterways, increase safety, reduce noise and atmospheric pollution, avoid the use of Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) stations and drastically reduce their running costs.


INCARNATION aimed to develop a RIS that would improve the on-board information available to skippers as well as the information available to parties involved in logistics. The project sought to define the functional and technical specifications for demonstrating and assessing a RIS consisting of the following: traffic image on board, logistic information and calamity abatement, and fairway information.


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)


In INCARNATION, the full functional specifications of a RIS have been developed and an integrated system demonstrated for tactical information based on a combination of radar technology and transponders. Important conclusions have been as follows:

  • The capacity of present main shipping axes is ample and no major queuing problems may be expected even if the traffic density is increased by 50 percent, which may not be expected before 2015.
  • The effect of the tactical traffic image on safety is limited since the safety level on inland waters is already fairly high.
  • An Automatic Identification and Data Management System (AIMS), if implemented on a large proportion of inland vessels across Europe, would contribute to the efficiency of the use of the fleet, the inland resources and the infrastructure.
  • Significant reductions in sailing time and/or fuel consumption may be achieved using information on the strategic traffic image.
  • The use of an inland Electronic Chart and Display System (ECDIS) for improved water level predictions may help better utilise the vessel's cargo carrying capacity and reduce the number of groundings due to overloading.
  • The demonstrator of the Tactical Traffic Image is a firm basis for the longer scale RIS demonstrators across Europe (INDRIS project).

Policy implications

A better utilisation of the inland waterways may postpone or even obviate the need for expensive new investments in road or railway infrastructure.

Discussions are needed within EC Member States to take account of the INCARNATION results in their policies. It is equally important to consider the legal aspects of INCARNATION and the need for reserved radio frequencies.

In order to implement RIS's across Europe, it is recommended that the preparations are made with respect to the organisation of each RIS and the definition of rules and regulations for satisfactory performance of a RIS.

The EC and other responsible bodies (e.g. Rhine and Danube Commissions) should be informed at an early stage in order to improve prospects for implementation. There is a need to harmonise reporting and communication procedures and ECDIS standards as a part of European-wide RIS's.

The project results will help the EC to further enhance and exploit the MARIS initiative (comprising the MARNET and BOPCOM projects and aiming at demonstrating the potential benefits of information technologies and telematics applications for a broad range of maritime activities).


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


Contribute! Submit your project

Do you wish to submit a project or a programme? Head over to the Contribute page, login and follow the process!