In developing and implementing RIS, the authorities and enterprises involved were faced with the challenge of integrating the various RIS building blocks into a common architecture that offers some degree of consistency and synergy across applications. To achieve this, comprehensive international Guidelines and Recommendations for River Information Services were defined within PIANC. These guidelines describe the principles and general requirements for planning, implementing and operational use of River Information Services and related systems. They include in particular the definitions of the specialised terms used in RIS. The CCNR adopted the Guidelines and Recommendations for River Information Services (RIS Guidelines) in 2002 and a subsequent revision in 2004. These Guidelines and recommendations have been included in Regulation (EC) No 414/2007 of the European Commission as well. (The RIS Guidelines have been recently revised by PIANC. This may make it necessary to adapt the content of this website.)
A River Information Service provides and uses information. It supports users of RIS in enhancing their efficiency at work. For RIS users, services are the means achieving the objectives supported by RIS. The Guidelines and Recommendations for River Information Services issued by PIANC define the following River Information Services:
Inland VTS are a service, implemented by a competent authority, designed to improve the safety and efficiency of vessel traffic and to protect the environment. The services have the capability of interacting with the traffic and of responding to traffic situations developing in the VTS area.
VTS on the Rhine comprise information services as well as other services, including a navigational assistance and a traffic organisation service. The CCNR has adopted the VTS Guidelines, which authorities are required to take into account in planning, establishing and operating vessel traffic services on the Rhine.
The CCNR has provided detailed standards to supplement the RIS Guidelines. International standardisation of River Information Services and RIS technologies is needed for the following reasons:
In addition, standardisation facilitates the adoption in inland navigation of new IT developments from other modes of transport and enables integration of the various modes (multi-modal transport on road, rail and waterway).
The RIS Standards listed below have been adopted by the CCNR as well as several other international organisations that are dedicated to fostering inland waterway navigation, including the Danube Commission and the UN ECE:
These standards are not defined and further developed by the international organisations themselves but by international expert groups. The expert groups additionally support implementation of the standards, for instance by preparing guidance documents. Once the RIS Expert Groups had proposed the standards, the CCNR deployed its efficient decision-making structures to rapidly give the standards international legitimacy, thereby giving developers and users the necessary secure conditions for planning and investments. The CCNR thus also contributes toward accelerating the introduction of RIS to other waterways besides the Rhine.