Port of Rotterdam
Theme 'Synchromodality'
Towards efficient systems of transportation

Theme 'Synchromodality'

Mainports as gateways to metropoles

The theme 'Synchromodality' focuses on developing tools, techniques and methodologies that will in the future ensure efficient access of both persons and freight to metropolitan and mainports areas.

These subthemes put mainports forward as gateways to the metropolis in which they are embedded and as hubs that strategically connect between the local region and the global community. This 'hinterland' of the mainport can be understood not only in terms of transportation and logistics, but also in terms of economic and urban development.

Transportation systems

The movement of persons and freight inside the mainport, inside the hinterland, and between the two, depends on the transportation systems facilitating these movements. These transportation systems are not only defined by their infrastructures, but also by the ways demand for transportation is met by offering transportation services.

The envisioned synchromodal transportation systems  create opportunities to realise enhanced mobility for persons and freight, but these systems face considerable challenges. The Syncromodality theme considers the accessibility of mainports and metropolitan areas as a coherent set of issues. These issues emerge and involve an intricate, complex, interwoven, multi-level, multi-objective, and dynamic ‘system of systems’, in which technological systems (ICT, transport, energy, water) as well as societal, financial, institutional, and legal systems interact.

Coordination mechanisms

The joint use of infrastructure and the management of commuter and freight traffic are hereby key notions. Only by developing efficient coordination mechanisms for the joint use of equipment, infrastructure and management of commuter and freight traffic, the accessibility of mainports and metropolises can be optimized. At the strategic level, the design of transportation systems should be considered jointly with the spatial organisation of urban areas, also for freight transport. Other relevant aspects are new requirements to the accessibility of port and urban areas due to growth of home delivery, changing mobility patterns, etc.