In most cities, if you don’t own a car, or just want to leave your car at home, you typically need to use more than one mode of transport to get around. You might, for example, start with a city bus or a rental bike, then transfer to the subway system, a train, or maybe a ride-sharing service to finish your journey.
This method of getting around, known as multi-modal transport, or mixed-mode commuting, makes use of public and private transit options, and can be an easier, more efficient way to navigate urban environments. Also, because multi-modal transport means fewer people drive single-occupancy vehicles, it has the added attraction of helping to reduce congestion, road traffic accidents, energy consumption, greenhouse- gas emissions, and dependence on fossil fuel.
Multi-modal transport is gaining momentum, and being promoted by a growing number of city and national governments. In Europe, for example, sustainable Intelligent Transport System (ITS) services are part of the European Commission’s action plan and directive for mobility and transport.
A new legal framework, adopted in 2010, aims to accelerate the deployment of “innovative transport technologies” across Europe, with the goal of establishing “interoperable and seamless ITS services.” One result of this directive is that public-transit authorities now make some of their operating data, such as arrival and departure times, available for use in intermodal transport schemes.
A new whitepaper, available today, looks at making intermodal transport a reality.