Arjan Hijdra

ISBN code



290 pages

DOI code


Historically, many western countries developed networks of navigable waterways to serve their transportation needs. Today these networks face a threefold challenge: assets like navigation locks, weirs and bridges are ageing, climate change influences operational circumstances, and society calls for consideration of the broader values waterways can provide. These issues induce an urgent need to redevelop this type of infrastructure, building on those broader values like for instance recreation, flood protection, ecology and waterfront development, as well as serving contemporary transportation needs.

This study focuses on this intent and provides practical guidance to maximize societal value. A well-known framework to optimize value propositions in the private sector is adapted for the public sector and used in six American and Dutch case studies. The findings show that cooperation between all kinds of actors is crucial to build value, that successful cooperation relies on synergy, and that synergy is built according to specific rules.

For practical guidance this process is detailed following a five-step approach. More in general three fields for improvement of current practice are identified: aligning policy ambitions with project management incentives, use of platforms for brokering of interests, and reduction of frictions in cooperation to stimulate synergy.

The results are of use in the infrastructure sector in general, and specifically for the redevelopment of ageing waterways in today's society.

About the author

Arjan Hijdra (1970) is a waterway planner and researcher. His background enables him to link engineering-, project- and network perspectives. He holds a M.Sc. degree in Civil Engineering at Delft University of Technology and started his professional career in international port consultancy. In 1999 he joined Rijkswaterstaat, the executive arm of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment. His current work focuses on multi-level coordination of network performance.

His PhD-research was done at the University of Groningen and partly at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he resided as a visiting scholar. Spin-offs of this work are used in the EU project on smart governance of infrastructure networks.

Arjan is member of the advisory board of the World Economic Forum - Future of Construction Initiative and co-founder of the Global Infrastructure Institute, a not-for- profit organization fostering the practical use of evidence-based guidance.