Elements of the urban transport system, namely modes, infrastructures, and users, have a spatial footprint. Transportation infrastructures consume space and their organization shapes urban form. The modes being used, by their technical and operational characteristics, also shape urban form as they underline what can be connected and what can be carried, and in which quantity. It is ultimately users generating passengers and freight movements that define the urban form that can effectively be developed.
Considering that each city has different socioeconomic and geographical characteristics, the spatial footprint of transportation varies accordingly. For instance, North American cities tend to have an urban form that has been shaped by the automobile with the dominance of highways and connectors. Cities in other parts of the world, because of different modal preferences and infrastructure developments, have different urban forms that tend to be more shaped by public transit.
The urban transport system is also represented by its spatial interactions since each city has its own circulation pattern of passengers and freight.