Passengers, cargo, and the modes carrying them are separated at terminals and interact through specific procedures and equipment. Due to technical and operational characteristics, the modal and non-modal components of a terminal have a different footprints:
- Ports. While docks and basins account for a good share of a port’s footprint, it is the storage function that consumes the most space. This is particularly the case for container terminals with extensive land footprints for stacking purposes. The interface is commonly performed by crane equipment.
- Airports. For airports, is it the airfield that has the most significant footprint as extensive areas are required for runways and taxiing. Terminals and plane parking areas have comparatively a smaller footprint; in many cases, car parking areas can account for a large share of it. The interface is done through skybridges or boarding stairs for passengers or trolleys and ramps for cargo.
- Passenger rail terminals. The passenger rail station can be substantial, with platforms accounting for more than half the footprint. For smaller stations, this share can be even higher.
- Freight rail terminals. Similar to ports, the storage function has the most significant footprint, particularly for intermodal terminals. The interface is commonly performed by crane equipment or side loaders.