Institute’s role: Lead partner
Background: iTransfer (Innovative Transport Solutions for Fjords, Estuaries and Rivers) aims to improve water-based public transport in Europe’s North Sea Region by developing innovative and sustainable ferry technology. By creating more efficient ferry operations and making regional ports more accessible it also seeks to increase the number of passengers commuting by water.Travelling by ferry is often more sustainable, easier and quicker, and provides essential services to remote communities.
Challenge: Regional public transport authorities often want to make better use of water transport for commuter journeys to help reduce congestion and CO2 emissions and improve air quality or to provide better services. However, it is difficult to find modern, comfortable and commercially-viable ferry designs, which also offer low fuel consumption, reduced CO2 emissions, and avoid damage to fauna and flora caused by wash near the shore, or by pollution. In addition, ferry landing equipment does not always meet current standards for disabled use or provide good passenger connections with other modes of public transport.
Activity: The iTransfer partners are working together to better understand the demand for commuter transport by ferry and passenger requirements and explore solutions to deliver a viable and sustainable transport alternative to road. Project activity falls into the following areas:
- Sustainable ferry operations research and design: A number of project partners are exploring potential upgrades to existing vessels and developing innovative, sustainable standard ferry designs. This includes Netherlands-based ferry operator Rederij Doeksen who has teamed-up with Damen Shipyards to pool their knowledge and deliver a new ferry concept that will use liquefied natural gas (LNG) as its main fuel reducing CO2 emissions. Ferry company, Weserfahre has developed a new fuel-monitoring system which is helping to reduce fuel consumption.
- Innovative infrastructure: For ferry services to be viable they need suitable infrastructure, which makes public access easy and allows better connections with other transport links. Gravesham Borough Council has designed and delivered an innovative new tide-proof ferry landing on the River Thames at Gravesend. The new landing stage provides a vital link, allowing commuters to travel by river between Gravesend in Kent and Tilbury in Essex and encourages more commercial ferry services from Gravesend, including upriver towards London. Opened by the Mayor of Gravesham, the new facility has included input from many iTransfer partners to enable a design that is optimised for the challenging tidal conditions. With a difference in high and low water of up to seven metres, it was important to construct a facility that could service ferries at all states of the tide. It has also been designed to be used by people with impaired mobility.
- New ferry services: Work is underway to develop and launch new ferry connections. Kent County Council is tendering for a new ferry service operator between Tilbury and Gravesend and liaising with project partners on their experiences of commissioning similar services and their procurement process.
- Developing ferry connections: Partners are implementing plans to better integrate ferry transport with other public transport modes. iTransfer partner, SEStran, a Regional Transport Partnership (RTP) in Scotland is creating a comprehensive manual that will provide invaluable guidance and information to local authorities and others seeking to enhance or create a passenger ferry service. They are also exploring an integrated, regional ticketing system to help encourage passenger transport by water.
For more information on iTransfer visit www.itransferproject.eu
Partners: The Institute is one of 16 organisations from across the North Sea region:
1. Institute for Sustainability
2. AG Port of Oostende (Belgium)
Sub partners to BIS Bremerhaven Touristik
12. Helgoland (Germany)
14. Rijkswaterstaat (Netherlands)
Funders: The project is funded by the North Sea Region programme, part of the EU Inter-regional (Interreg) initiative.