Making Future Transportation Decisions:

Intermodal Planning Needed

CED-78-74: Published: Mar 16, 1978. Publicly Released: Mar 16, 1978.

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Recognizing that they cannot continue to focus on the isolated needs of individual transportation modes, federal, state, and local governments have begun to take a broader approach to planning their transportation programs and to consider each mode as an integral part of an overall transportation system. This broader planning perspective is called intermodal.

The federal government has taken some positive steps toward intermodal planning, but state transportation agencies have made little progress in intermodal considerations. Factors inhibiting states from taking an intermodal planning approach are: (1) federal capital, operating, and planning grant programs for transportation are modally separate; (2) federal transportation planning assistance, about $200 million annually, is available for airport, highway, rail, or transit planning but not for intermodal planning; (3) imbalances in federal funding and staff assistance impeded state efforts to develop a more balanced intermodal planning capability; (4) states have their own institutional and legal barriers; and (5) states lack the technical knowledge for many of the intermodal analyses they want to perform.

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