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Waterborne Traffic and Transport Management Technical Secretariat (thematic network)

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Transport mode
Waterborne icon
Transport policies
Transport sectors
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

A significant part of research activities of the 4th Framework Programme comprising mainly the VTMIS concerted action, the INDRIS and VTMIS-Net projects, have brought insights on the concepts of both, Vessel Traffic Management and Information Services and River Information Services. One of the common items found is the need for information exchange between entities involved in both Vessel Traffic Management and Transport Management. However, due to various constraints the research did not permit, yet, to fully evaluate the benefits that could be expected from the actual implementation of VTMIS and/or RIS and henc

  • Improving navigational safety and protection of the environment.
  • Optimising control and use of resources, cargo flows and infrastructures through the integration of information related to transport logistics. Special mention is to be made here of the term 'transport logistics' underlining the challenge to include and develop waterborne traffic as an integrated part of the total transport chain. The project will provide the Commission with a co-ordination structure.
  • To offer all actors concerned a forum where their views will be expressed and discussed.
  • To identify pending problems.
  • To derive from the confrontation of interests at stake and the assessment of the capabilities and costs of IT technologies commonly agreed proposals for the implementation of adequate information services.

The project is aiming to reach its objectives by:

  • Setting up an adequate coordination structure offering participants in the Thematic Network a forum where their views would be expressed and discussed; organising discussions; collecting and processing information expected from the world of potential stakeholders; and issuing commonly agreed conclusions and recommendations.
  • Reviewing and updating the international state of the art taking account of previous research on the needs for vessel traffic management both in the maritime and the inland waterways sectors, focusing in particular on contributions that may be expected from such systems as Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS), Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) and satellite based European positioning systems (GALILEO).
  • Developing a commonly agreed methodological approach providing a format for a logical description of components of relevant Information Services and systematically using the method to collect, process and analyse stakeholders' requirements through dedicated workshops, seminars, visits and overviews of the most promising trends; providing bases for further developments of relevant information system architectures.


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


The achievements resulting from the activities of Waterman membership are:

  1. The Waterman Thematic Network, through a series of four workshops, complemented by several seminars, endeavoured to gather representatives from all interested parties, and to elaborate jointly with them a common view on the situation and the lessons to draw from it. These meetings offered the following benefits:
    - ensure a wide dissemination of the results;
    - gather professional actors' opinions on the traffic and transport management needs; 
  2. National contributions, reflecting the recent developments and prospects in different EU Member States, were presented by high level actors, for consideration and discussion in the Waterman seminars or workshops. Some exemplary developments demonstrated that synergies between traffic and transport may be enhanced. Significant facts were also collected in non-European countries, and particularly in Singapore. 
  3. The Waterman Thematic Network gathered, and made available to any interested party, a documentation composed of:
    - a glossary of terms,
    - a list of relevant publications. 
  4. Waterman prepared a series of synthesis documents on current trends regarding:
    - hindrances and constraints affecting data exchanges,
    - information systems developed for transport logistics,
    - the rationale and applicability of the Formal Safety Assessment methodology,
    - the SafeSeaNet network, Waterman exchanges of views with other Thematic Networks (THEMES, THEMIS, SWAN) or projects (EMBARC, TRAPIST, IPPA, COMPRIS) led in June 2002 to the submission to the Commission of proposals for projects clustering.
  5. Based on the methodology as described in the final report:
    - approximately 150 EU projects were reviewed,
    - a computerised database was created and maintained, including detailed information on a span of 65 relevant projects,
    - guidelines for traffic and transport management related information systems architecture were developed.

Policy implications

The Waterman Thematic Network recommends that :

  1. More endeavour be devoted to enhance mutual trust between stakeholders involved in traffic and transport management. Waterman recommends in particular that criteria be specified to discriminate whether or not an information is commercial in nature, and that protection modes be defined for the information considered as confidential. More generally, ways to clarify ownership and ensure reliability of data should be defined.
    In that context, opportunities should be investigated to transfer public services to private entities, including neutral information providers/brokers (third trusted party), without endangering core public interests. Simultaneously the possible merits of public support to reference systems which, although attractive, have not yet proven their benefits in practice, should be identified and explored. 
  2. In depth analyses be further carried out to promote the concept of a one stop, shop a precondition to the development of short sea shipping. Such analyses should take account of :
    - the requirements for suitable interfaces with other modes of transport,
    - the requirements for electronic reporting procedures, as made mandatory by the 2002/59 Directive,
    - the implementation of the SafeSeaNet network,
    - the considerable increase in the amount of data that will result from the development of systems such as AIS and RFT,
    - the development of recent IT technologies such as XML. 
  3. In addition to 2, future information services be designed with the objectives:
    - to promote event driven real time transactional systems and supply chain event management, and to this end,
    - to produce targeted information from available data. 
  4. Attention be paid to the risk of vulnerability which may result from increasing dependability of processes and process chains, and hence require secure systems designs and intelligent security architectures. 
  5. More attention be paid in the next future to the human element from both the social and economic points of view. Especially in the safety and security sectors, man is the key factor. 
  6. Any study of maritime traffic and transport information systems be subject to a systematic approach aimed at defining the architecture of these systems at the appropriate levels:
    - the policy level,
    - the business (operator) level,
    - the manufacturers levels.

    The Waterman guidelines on system a


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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