The transportation-planning environment is evolving due to the advancing technologies and demand for improved mobility. New transportation priorities are emerging in the face of these factors, priorities emphasizing connectivity and modal choice. The underlying goal is to coordinate the network of transportation systems to enhance the mobility of goods and people by efficiently utilizing existing resources. Multimodal transportation systems focus on transportation system links and providing system users with a choice of modes along those links.


Intermodal (also known as multimodal) transportation is the notion of transporting both freight and passengers by means of a system of interconnected networks, utilizing several combinations of transportation modes that function together without handling the freight itself.  Intermodal transportations systems are revolutionary as they help to remedy major cargo mobility issues. By combining state and private transportation modes into one transport system, the optimum rates, costs, and transit time become more attainable.  By reducing handling time, labor costs, and packing costs, and reducing damage and theft during transport, container transportation has facilitated economies of scale and improvements in handling speed and throughput, particularly for valuable non-bulk commodities. Because of container use, intermodal freight movement has expanded dramatically since the 1980s, particularly for shipments over 2,000 miles.


The Greater Hickory MPO is dedicated to promote an integrated and connected, multimodal goods movement system that supports freight mobility and access across the Western Piedmont.  The process for developing such plans and programs shall provide for the consideration of all modes of transportation and shall be cooperative and comprehensive to the degree appropriate based on the complexity of the transportation problems, as well as available resources.