Intermodality and Passenger Transport

Intermodality and Passenger Transport


I Laplace, M3 Systems, FR; N Lenoir, ENAC-AEEL, FR; I Rebelo, F Pita, A Valadares, ANA Aeroportos de Portugal, PT


Could the development of intermodal transports help to solve congestion and pollution generated by air transport? In this paper we analyze the present situation of airport intermodality, and its possible evolutions 15 to 20 years ahead.


Despite crisis and airlines demises, air traffic is still growing and projections are oriented upwards for the years and even decades to come. At the same time, major European airports are already congested, and traffic flows are harder and harder to cope with for the air navigation providers. Moreover, air traffic generates pollution and nuisances, both locally and in the atmosphere, and it is not clear today whether the forecasted increases can be sustainable in the medium to long term (in fact, it is likely they cannot, unless major technological advances are made). The European commission, in response to both congestion and pollution, sees intermodal transports as a valuable solution. We can indeed wonder whether the development of intermodal transports at airports could impact air traffic levels and distribution and possibly alleviate air traffic congestion, thus also impacting pollution positively.
In this paper we give some thoughts to this question, by analyzing the present situation of airport intermodality, and by trying to project it 15 to 20 years ahead into the future.
In a broad sense, intermodal transport can be viewed as the transport of goods and passengers by the use of several coordinated transport modes. In the first section of this paper, we study the different forms of intermodality and define more precisely what are the forms relevant to (intermodality with) air travel. We also address the issue of intermodal infrastructure financing, and of operators? incentives to sign agreements.
If there are so far few examples today where intermodality at airport impacted air traffic, the number of these examples could increase with the level of airport intermodality, and the air traffic level and distribution could then be affected significantly. The European Commission in the 2001 white paper on transport, assumes that a strong development of intermodal agreements could noticeably decrease air traffic on short and medium-haul. But could it really ?
Answering this question is not straightforward and implies first of all to analyze how airport intermodality could evolve in the future. The main difficulty appearing when analyzing intermodality lies in the large number of factors impacting its development and in their complex mutual influences. Determining how intermodality could develop requires to decompose the analysis in several steps. In a first step, we identify factors directly or indirectly influencing the development of airport intermodality and derive a qualitative model showing the factors? complex relationships. This model will then be used for building and analyzing different scenarios of intermodality evolution at airport.
The application of these scenarios on France and Portugal, which constitute today polar cases of transport network development in Europe, shows that intermodal infrastructure development is a necessary condition but may not prove sufficient to develop airport intermodality. The general economic environment, the competition levels on the transport markets, the transport and environmental policies as well as the air capacity constraints will be deciding factors in this respect. Our scenarios have shown us that the association of some conditions could promote the development of intermodal agreements between transport operators while other conditions would impede it. Moreover, we show that impacts of intermodality on competition and welfare are in no way clear and need to be studied further.


Association for European Transport