The Future of Intermodal Freight Transport
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The Future of Intermodal Freight Transport

Operations, Design and Policy

Edited by Rob Konings, Hugo Priemus and Peter Nijkamp

This book explores the great challenge of increasing the scope of intermodal freight transport. In view of the current dominant role of road transport and the increasing difficulties in coping with a growing number of vehicles in an efficient and sustainable way, intermodal freight transport could be considered a viable alternative. However, the book makes recognition of the fact that there is still a need to improve the performance of the intermodal transport system.
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Chapter 3: Intermodal Freight Transport in the United States

Lata Chatterjee and T.R. Lakshmanan


Lata Chatterjee and T.R. Lakshmanan INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW 3.1 A variety of interrelated factors have converged in the last quarter of the twentieth century to alter, in significant and pervasive ways, the nature and scope of the US freight transportation enterprise – what is being transported, how it is transported, where from and where to (origins and destinations of goods). There have been major changes in the volume and composition of goods, which are moved over longer distances in both domestic and global markets; freight is moved more frequently in smaller shipments, and, on average, is of higher value than before (Figure 3.1). Major freight routes (domestically and globally) are evolving, in short order, in response to changes in the global economy and in the geography of emerging production centres (US DOT 2000). A major factor underlying this transformation of freight transport is represented by the changes in the scale, in the composition, and in the structure of the American and global economies. The demand for transportation services has grown in response to the generally brisk performance of the US and global economies in this period. The US economy is becoming dominantly services-oriented, and shifting from mass manufacturing to high value-added custom manufacturing. The resulting combination of increasing information content and decreasing material intensity of goods changes the character and value of goods being moved. Further, the US and other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, in search of lower overall factor costs, have created global and regional...

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