Frameworks and Policy Applications in Freight and Passenger Transport
Comparative Perspectives on Transportation Security series
Edited by Joseph S. Szyliowicz, Luca Zamparini, Genserik L.L. Reniers and Dawna L. Rhoades
Chapter 1: Introduction
Recent decades have witnessed the emergence and implementation of a new vision of transportation across the globe. That vision, known as intermodalism or multimodal transport grew out of technological innovations and a realization that the traditional modal approach to moving people and goods by road, rail, water or air no longer sufficed. This modal approach, whereby each mode is administered and operated in isolation from the other modes, had created a situation characterized by numerous problems including urban congestion, environmental pollution and bottlenecks that prevented the smooth flow of goods and people thus imposing ever-heavier costs upon communities and governments everywhere. Accordingly, it became increasingly obvious that it was essential to view transportation in a new way, one that recognized transportation as a system, that the modes, though possessing individual characteristics, were interrelated. Technological changes in transportation and communication have been a powerful driver that unleashed these forces. Indeed it has been argued that intermodalism emerged from a box in 1956 when a ship called the Ideal X sailed from New Jersey to Texas carrying freight packed in containers. Until then, ships were loaded and offloaded much as they had been for centuries; now goods could be shipped across the globe at greatly reduced costs since the freight needed to be packed only once. Thus ships could be loaded and unloaded more quickly. Malcom McLean had created a new technology that transformed international trade and investment patterns.