Author: Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue
Transport modes are the means by which passengers and freight achieve mobility. They are mobile transport assets and fall into three basic types; land (road, rail and pipelines), water (shipping), and air.
Transport modes are designed to either carry passengers or freight, but most modes can carry a combination of both. For instance, an automobile has a capacity to carry some freight while a passenger plane has a bellyhold that is used for luggage and cargo. Each mode is characterized by a set of technical, operational and commercial characteristics. Technical characteristics relate to attributes such as speed, capacity, and motive technology while operational characteristics involve the context in which modes operated, including speed limits, safety conditions or operating hours. The demand for transport and the ownership of modes are dominant commercial characteristics.