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 different footprints:
- Ports. While docks and basins account for a good share of a port’s footprint, the storage function 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 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 over 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.