Hochschule Karlsruhe Hochschule Karlsruhe - University of Applied Sciences
Hochschule Karlsruhe Hochschule Karlsruhe - University of Applied Sciences
Project PREVIEW Friedrichsfeld lock


Resilience of critical transport infrastructures exemplified by waterways


Around 2.5 million containers are transported on German waterways every year. On the one hand, the waterways are of outstanding importance for the functioning of the economy. On the other hand, the infrastructures of the artificial federal waterways including canals and locks, is outdated. Floods or possible terrorist attacks also pose a threat to waterway infrastructure. Furthermore, it is not known what consequences the failure of individual critical elements of this system may have for other transport infrastructures, the economy and the population in the affected regions.


Project goals

The joint PREVIEW-project pursues the central goal of increasing the resilience of the waterway infrastructure in Germany.

To this end, Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences (HKA), together with  Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the Federal Waterways Engineering and Research Institute (BAW) as well as logistics consultants  of 4flow AG and population protection experts from antwortING  are investigating the resilience of waterways in the busy West German canal network.


Therefore, the damage effects and consequences are analyzed and processed on the basis of the three security scenarios of natural events, technical or human failure and hostile attacks.

For the first time, the totality of threats to the population as well as to transport and economy will be analyzed.

The resulting findings will be used to develop contingency plans, in order to effectively counter these threats.

In particular, the scientists of the HKA examine critical waterway structures such as locks, weirs, canal bridges, dams and culverts with regard to their structural condition and their probability of failure.

Project excursions and structural analyses on the Rhine-Herne Canal, the Dortmund-Ems Canal and the Wesel-Datteln Canal enabled the PREVIEW team of experts to gain an impression of the condition of the structures.

Innovation und perspectives

The results of the project will be incorporated into a simulation model which illustrates possible hazardous situations using the example of the West German canal network. This enables end users to visualize the vulnerability of infrastructure, riparian communities and industries. Furthermore, logistic models make it possible to assess the economic impact of damage events in canals. The results benefit the end users and can subsequently be transferred to the entire waterway infrastructure.


Ongoing project 09/2018 — 08/2021

Further information

The project is in the field of civil security research. Information on the security research program, current announcements, events as well as other research projects with a similar context can be found on the official website for the Federal Government’s Research for civil security framework programme (SIFO) by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).


Project consortium

Project activities and dissemination

PREVIEW Expert Workshop 2020

On February 17/18, 2020, the second expert workshop within the PREVIEW project took place with experts from authorities, science and industry. Special focus was on the validation of the working concept developed in the project and the requirements analysis of the demonstrator to be developed.


Smart Rivers Conference in Lyon

At the PIANC Smart Rivers Conference 2019 from September 30 to October 3, 2019, parts of the project were presented to the international expert community of planners, operators and users of waterways worldwide.

Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences (HKA) presented the assessment concept of structural robustness, which is also applied in the project for the vulnerability of waterway infrastructure.
Numerous discussions with international waterway network operators, such as Voies navigables de France (VNF), United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Austrian VIADONAU, as well as infrastructure management planners served to exchange experiences and provided valuable impulses for the developments of PREVIEW.

Expert workshop

At the beginning of April 2019, the first expert workshop within the framework of the PREVIEW project took place with experts from authorities, science and industry. Particular focus was placed on the validation and formation of the scenarios to be developed in the project.


Excursion to the West German Canal Network

In March 2019, the project partners traveled together to the model region at the West German canal network. The three-day excursion started at the remote control center in Datteln, which is responsible for the management of the canal network. Afterwards the inspection of various structures along the canal network took place.

After visiting the Lippe canal bridge near Olfen, the agenda included inverted siphons, culverts and a trip over the high dam section along the Rhine-Herne Canal.

In addition, some sluices were inspected, including the drained sluice in Oberhausen (see picture). The project partners also inspected the Ruhr weir in Duisburg and a feed pump station.

During the inspections, talks were held with responsible persons, which represent an important input for the further project work. In addition to the information and contacts relevant to the structures, the foundations for the economic consideration and criticality of the PREVIEW project were laid during a visit to the Marl Chemical Park and in particular to the company's own port facilities.

This project is funded by

The PREVIEW project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the “Research for civil security framework programme (SIFO)”under the announcement: "Civil Security - Transport Infrastructures".

The project is supported by the General Directorate of Waterways and Shipping of the Federal Government (GDWS) as well as the waterway riparians EVONIK (Chemiepark Marl) and TRIANEL Kraftwerk Lünen.