Passengers, cargo and the modes carrying them are separated at terminals and are interacting through specific procedures and equipment. Due to technical and operational characteristic the modal and non-modal components of a terminal have a different footprint:
- 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 that have an extensive land footprint 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, taxiing and parking. Terminals have comparatively a smaller footprint and 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 easily accounting for more than half the footprint. For smaller stations, this share can be even higher.
- Freight rail terminals. Similar to ports, it is the storage function that has the largest footprint, particularly for intermodal terminals. The interface is commonly performed by crane equipment or side loaders.