Water busses, water shuttles, ferries, river cruise ships are more and more integrated in mobility networks for commuting and leisure tourism, especially in France, the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK, where a dense network of navigable inland waterways connects cities with the suburbs.
Connecting water transport networks with on land mobility networks in well developed ‘blue hubs’ is considered as one of the measures to reach a higher degree of modal split. Especially combining cycling with boating to cross a river can shorten a route considerably. When it is developed as a competitive alternative it can diminish car use and traffic jams through tunnels and over bridges.
The measurement is interesting to develop further but the reverse side is that most public transport vessels and river cruise ships are not sustainable! They are still equipped with engines running on diesel fuel (euronorm 1 and 2) and very polluting. Partly because of the expensive diesel fuel the exploitation costs are high and not competitive. Especially as water transport is often not considered as ‘public transport’ and supported by the government, but exploited by the waterway management company or a private water transport provider.