Mode of transport

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Transport modes ( modes of transport ) are, in a broad sense, different forms of transport systems and, in a narrow sense, designations for individual sectors of transport or public transport . The industries are created by grouping transport companies according to typical criteria, such as B.

They have to be involved in the modal split to a sufficient extent so that they can be statistically recorded as an economic sector (in the main, mass nature). There are qualitative and quantitative comparison and evaluation criteria for modes of transport, e.g. B. mass performance, speed, network formation ability , predictability, frequency of traffic operation, security and ease of process execution. As specialized sectors within the transport industry whose business activities include the creation of generally accessible mobility services, the modes of transport are basically to be assigned to public transport . The modes of transport can be divided into system-oriented modes of transport according to technical-technological differentiation criteria or into application-oriented transport services according to economic-organizational differentiation criteria.


System-oriented branches: modes of transport

The system-oriented modes of transport offer transport-related services (new German: carrier services). To do this, they operate different traffic systems , with each traffic system meeting the different requirements of the customer and the transport object to be transported in terms of quality and quantity (e.g. transport speed, capacity, route, medium). Container traffic is a hybrid between system-oriented and service-oriented branches. Communication technology is often considered separately.

Even if the above Modes of transport are named after the mainly used technical aids, it is still an industry name. The term "railway traffic" or "railway" for short does not mean the sum of all locomotives , switches and signal box buildings , but the amount of all transport companies active in the transport market that use the technical aid "railway" (in the broader sense) to provide their services .

Application-oriented branches: transport services / mobility services

The service-oriented branches make use of the above. system-oriented branches to offer the transport services. Classic: Swiss Post used a. the transport service of the railroad ( rail mail ) for the creation of postal services. The news branch is often considered separately.

Mode of transport or mode of transport?

The two terms mode and carrier can be used synonymously in many areas. Mode of transport figuratively means a branch within the transport and communications sector (as an economic sector), while mode of transport means the sector that provides a certain transport service and thus "carries" the traffic volume of an economy (a transport company is often also referred to as a mode of transport). There are differences, however. Modes of transport include, in particular, the technical infrastructure (pipelines, track systems, etc.).

Mode of transport or means of transport?

The means of transport (in the sense of the transport system) are the entirety of stationary and mobile work equipment, which enables goods, people and messages to be moved. B.

  • Transport infrastructure (route, station, ancillary facilities),
  • Vehicles and vessels,
  • stationary or mobile personnel (workers),
  • Drive configuration and energy supply (traction) as well as
  • Methods and facilities for operational management or operational organization.

In colloquial terms, means of transport are simply vehicles. (See also the keyword “means of transport ” in this online dictionary under the corresponding keyword.) From the definition it becomes clear that there is a significant difference between the terms “mode of transport” / “mode of transport” and means of transport.


Various terms are used in connection with modes of transport:

  • Multimodality : the existence and possibly synergy of several modes of transport
  • Co-modality : optimizing the efficient use of the various modes of transport, either alone or in combination.

Individual evidence

  1. VDV (2006): Das Fachwort im Verkehr, p. 186 f.
  2. European Commission (ed.): For a mobile Europe - Sustainable mobility for our continent. Mid-term review of the European Commission's 2001 Transport White Paper. Luxembourg 2006.