Smart Mobility

April 26, 2022

Multimodal and intermodal transport: what are they and how they affect cities

The world has witnessed the economic impact of the health crisis in the form of global commodity shortages and supply chain disruptions. This is leading to changes in the way goods are transported.

Cities are seeing the consequences of this crisis in the form of shortages and rising prices. This is because transport costs in general have risen sharply. According to The Financial Times, the price of shipping a 12 meter container has increased tenfold since the pandemic, now costing almost 9,000 USD.

Smarter options need to be explored as soon as possible in the transport sector, a sector in which multimodal and intermodal transport is more important than ever.

Want to know what they are and how they affect cities? We will tell you about them below!

What is intermodal transport?

Intermodal transport can be defined as the movement of goods or people through different transport methods as a whole.

This type of transport seeks to put an end to the great dependence that currently exists on road transport, either for the transport of people or for the transport of goods. A new, more functional system is needed, one that meets more needs and is much more versatile. Due to this transition, the use of buses, subways, streetcars, scooters, etc. is becoming more and more common.

Large cities such as Seville or Valencia already have intermodal transport alternatives, which have scooters and electric bikes or bike rental services, among others.

Best of all, the entire intermodal transport network can be managed from a single mobile application. Thanks to Meep, you can see all available transport options in your city in an accessible and efficient way.

Advantages of intermodal transport

These are the main advantages offered by the implementation of intermodal transportation:

  • Faster operations as a result of shipping a single unit of cargo.
  • It helps to improve traceability, a factor that is gaining popularity thanks to recent technological advances, also allowing the implementation of processes through massive data processing.
  • It improves road safety and decongests cities and highways, improving living conditions. It also causes much less waste compared to traditional transportation.
  • It is more sustainable. By focusing on increasing efficiency, it also reduces emissions, reduces costs by streamlining the supply chain and provides longer vehicle life.

If you want to know more about intermodal transport you can always take a look at our article focused on it.

What is multimodal transport?

Multimodal transport is where several means of transport are used by the same operator on different routes and at different times of the day. An increasing number of people are using this type of transport to meet their travel needs and speed up their journeys.

This alternative can be very useful for people who frequent public transport, as they turn to alternative transport to complete their journey.

Advantages of multimodal transport

Of course, the advantages of multimodal transport are also very relevant:

  • Increased security. It is much easier to determine liability in case of theft or damage. In addition, the fact that a single operator assumes responsibility is a very important factor in mitigating losses.
  • Coordination and follow-up. Simplification of procedures in a single contracting process facilitates follow-up.
  • Efficiency and cost savings. This translates into greater efficiency and, therefore, a reduction in costs and environmental impact depending on the means of transport.
  • All means of transport at your fingertips. Thanks to the Meep app, you can view all route options from your smartphone when planning your trip.

What is the difference between intermodal and multimodal transport?

While intermodal transport focuses on the different modes of transport as a whole, multimodal transport is a variant that combines the different modes of transport under one operator.

"Several means of transport on the same route is intermodal mobility and when the user uses several means of transport on different routes and at different times of the day it is multimodal mobility."

Multimodal and intermodal mobility

As an example, imagine a family wishing to travel from Austin to a Chicago IL. With the intermodal method, the family could travel by car using a single mean of transport, or alternate with a flight, book a train ticket and buy a bus ticket at the station to reach the destination. All this without any member of the family traveling separately.

With multimodal transportation, the same passenger would use a travel agency to organize all the trips in the most efficient and safe way possible and without the family having to worry about transfers or having to look for another option in case, for example, the flight is cancelled. In the case of Meep, you can have all the transportation available in your city in a single application.

We hope this article has helped you to know the differences between intermodal and multimodal transportation. The best of all is that both can be adapted to the needs of each person. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us!