EU digital policy


Digitalisation is not an aim in itself. It is a very powerful tool to help achieve the Green Deal objectives. Since the adoption of the River Information Services (RIS) directive at the beginning of this century, much has changed. Safety is still a prime concern and objective. Today, it is supported with new digital tools such as sensors and aquatic drones to collect a wealth of data in support of safer navigation, preventive maintenance and better capacity management.

Next to safety, real-time & predictable infrastructure and traffic information as well as paperless navigation gain importance to support inland shipping logistics, enhance service levels and boost the competitiveness of inland waterway transport. The consistent and interoperable deployment of digital technologies across borders is a pre-requisite to complete the digital TEN-T network. Data generation and connection to the Internet of Things also require better data accessibility and fast mobile broadband coverage. This will empower the progressive automation of fleet and infrastructure.

What is DINA and why is it important

  • DINA stands for the EU Digital Inland Waterway Area and addresses digitalisation in inland waterway transport.
  • It covers inter alia River Information Services (RIS) which aim to streamline the information exchange between public and private parties to improve the safety, sustainability and efficiency in inland waterway transport. RIS are the inland waterway transport equivalent of ITS, SESAR, ERTMS, and e-Navigation.
  • Further to the European DINA study of 2017, the DINA Expert Group of the Commission aims to deal with all digital developments from navigation and traffic management, integration in logistics processes and administrative formalities including costs involved in complying with and enforcing legislation.

Modal shift is a priority for the Green Deal and cannot do without multimodal transport management systems. Interoperability is the first condition for successful multimodal smart and connected transport. Standardisation is not enough as it leaves too many operational aspects untouched. Binding rules on interoperable standards between existing information systems across borders and modes would make the TEN-T Regulation much stronger by enabling the coherent deployment of digital technologies across the TEN-T network and boost synchro-modal transport.

The development of a common European mobility data space in full compliance with data protection rules and according to the highest standards for cybersecurity is very much welcomed to stimulate data accessibility, the use of data and demand for services enriched with data.

What is DTLF and why is it important

  • The EU Digital Transport and Logistics Forum (DTLF) is a group of transport and logistics experts, including public and private players from the inland waterway sector. Together, they work on a common vision and roadmap for digital transport and logistics.
  • First priority is the digitalisation of transport documents and their acceptance by public and private parties to move to paperless transport and single reporting for better communication. EU draft regulation on e-freight documents (eFTI) awaits adoption by Council and Parliament. Policy measures for the harmonisation of other documents will also be identified.
  • Second priority is the set-up of a data sharing infrastructure and its governance so information can flow seamlessly and securely across the supply chain. It addresses the interoperability obstacles between systems and modes.

Integrating policies
First of all the synergies between transport and digital policies should be enhanced. Secondly, to foster system innovation, the new common data spaces should not be isolated bubbles. For waterways and waterway transport, there is a direct added value to develop connections between the common European data spaces for Mobility, Energy and Industry. Last but not least, the connection with the Green Deal data space can enhance an improved coordination of policies in the field of transport, climate change, circular economy, pollution and biodiversity.

Digitalisation is developing fast and in multiple directions. TEN-T requires a sort of future-proofing mechanism to keep pace with relevant developments.

Status of RIS implementation and next steps
Digitalisation at work
RIS COMEX project 
ST4W project 


Policy recommendations up to 2020



- A timely revision of the RIS directive of 2005 to keep up with current needs and developments
- The creation of an eFTI dataset for inland waterway transport fitting into multimodal paperless transport
- Pre-normative research on standards, liability and training requirement for automation


- Define a roadmap towards permanent operation and governance of a EU wide RIS corridor system data sharing platform integrated with the EU federated platform of networks as proposed by DTLF
- Define cross-border data interoperability of existing information systems so information is securely available with proper access rights on a single digital gateway and user data are provided ‘once only’
- Start the design of an EU framework for the development and deployment of smart shipping including regulation and investment
- Extend digital services and Mobility as a Service (MaaS) towards inland waterway transport applications in the field of tourism and public transport





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Aids to navigation (AToNs) make navigation safer and more efficient

One-stop-shop RIS

12 Mar 2020

VisuRIS makes shipping smoother and safer on connected waterways

INE and the European Inland Waterway Transport Platform organised an information sharing workshop on ongoing digital developments important for inland waterways and multimodality

Inland waterway transport is automating by the development and deployment of smart shipping