Intermodality: interchanges as infrastructures accompanying mobility.

Panamá City, Panamá

Iam going to offer you an article on intermodality that I recently had published. Last summer I signed an agreement with Swisscontact, a non-profit making, Swiss foundation providing support in the area of sustainable development in emerging or developing nations.

Firma Swisscontact
 In my case, I am working on research project in tandem with the headquarters in Bolivia looking into the cost of urban transport, still something of an unknown quantity in those countries located in Latin America where unprofessionally run companies are often commonplace and where in many cases the concept of “truck-man” whereby the driver is the owner of a generally dilapidated vehicle used to offer an urban transport service fighting for every passenger on the street is the order of the day. 

What do I mean by intermodality? I am referring to the integration of modes of transport within a jointly planned and operated system, through the combination of these reducing travelling times and increasing accessibility for different areas. And interchanges? Well these are places or equipment that allow for this intermodality to take place. An example of this could be the station at Atocha in Madrid, where inter-city, regional, local and metropolitan trains converge with urban bus services, taxis and parking facilities for vehicles wishing to access public transport services.

Swisscontact publishes several issues of a magazine each year and on this occasion I was asked to write an article dealing with interchanges and intermodality. In my article I look at:

  • The 4 concepts ofaccessibility
  • Transport interchanges as infrastructures accompanying mobility, meaning, these must be located where they are needed.
  • They must be “facilitators” of mobility and as such require a series of special conditions and must respond to certain key issues.
  • It is of the utmost importance that the user perceives a significant reduction of their travelling time and feels that this is carried out within the confines of an infrastructure of the highest standards.
  • As a summary, the problems faced by an expert when designing an interchange.

The article was based on a longer one with the same title published in the special issue on mobility for the Engineering and Territory Magazine (Sastre&Aldecoa, 2009, Royal School of Civil Engineers). I recommend you take a closer look at this edition containing articles written by prestigious experts in the field of urban and metropolitan transport.

Do you consider intermodality to be a good thing? How do you view interchanges from the outlook of a transport user or professional? Is there any particular interchange you would highlight as an example of good practice? I await your comments. 

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