Jean-Paul Rodrigue (2013), New York:
Routledge, 416 pages.
Transport Geography Glossary
Compiled by Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue. Many of the glossary terms are adapted from:
- Absolute advantage.
- Access. The capacity to enter and exit a transport system.
It is an absolute term implying that a location has access or does
- Accessibility. The measure of the capacity of a location
to be reached by, or to reach different locations. The capacity
and the structure of transport infrastructure are key elements in
the determination of accessibility.
- Aerodrome. A defined area on land or water (including
any buildings, installations, and equipment) intended to be used
either wholly or in part for the arrival, departure, and movement
of aircraft. Aerodromes may include airports, heliports, and other
- Aframax: A tanker of standard size between 75,000 and
115,000 dwt usually carrying half a million barrels of oil. The largest tanker size in the AFRA (Average Freight
Rate Assessment) tanker rate system.
- Agglomeration Economies. (see economies of agglomeration).
- Air Cargo. Total volume of freight, mail and express
traffic transported by air. Includes the following: Freight and
Express-commodities of all kinds, includes small package counter
services, express services and priority reserved freight.
- Air Carrier. Commercial system of air transportation,
consisting of domestic and international scheduled and charter service.
- Air Space. The segment of the atmosphere that is under
the jurisdiction of a nation or under an international agreement
for its use. They include two major components, one being land-based
(takeoffs and landings) and the other air-based, mainly composed
of air corridors. These corridors can cover
altitudes up to 22,500 meters. Most commercial air transport
limited to the use of predetermined corridors.
- Air Transportation. Includes companies that provide
domestic and international passenger and freight services, and
that operate airports and provide terminal facilities.
- Airport. 1) An area of land or water that is used or
intended to be used for the landing and takeoff of aircraft, and
includes its buildings and facilities, if any; 2) Facility used
primarily by conventional, fixed-wing aircraft; 3) A facility, either
on land or water, where aircraft can take off and land. Usually
consists of hard-surfaced landing strips, a control tower, hangars
and accommodations for passengers and cargo; 4) A landing area regularly
used by aircraft for receiving discharging passengers or cargo.
- Alternative Fuels. Low-polluting fuels which are used
to propel a vehicle instead of high-sulfur diesel or gasoline. Examples
include methanol, ethanol, propane or compressed natural gas, liquid
natural gas, low-sulfur or "clean" diesel and electricity.
- Amtrak. Operated by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation
of Washington, DC. This rail system was created by President Nixon
in 1970, and was given the responsibility for the operation of intercity,
as distinct from suburban, passenger trains between points designated
by the Secretary of Transportation.
- Arterial Street. A major thoroughfare, used primarily
for through traffic rather than for access to adjacent land, that
is characterized by high vehicular capacity and continuity of movement.
- Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Free
trade area established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with
the signing of the Bangkok Declaration. The members of ASEAN are
Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines,
Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The Secretariat of the Association
is located in Jakarta, Indonesia.
- Average Vehicle Occupancy (AVO). The number of people
traveling by private passenger vehicles divided by the number of
- Average Vehicle Rideship (AVR). The ratio of all people
traveling by any mode, including cars, buses, trains and bicycles
(or telecommuting), in a given area during a given time period to
the number of cars on the road. A key measure of the efficiency
and effectiveness of a transportation network - the higher the AVR,
the lower the level energy consumption and air pollution.
- Back Haul. Traffic for the return movement of a car or
container towards the point where the initial load originated or
to handle a shipment in the direction of the light flow of traffic.
- Balance of payments. A record of receipts from and payments
to the rest of the world by a country's government and its residents.
The balance of payments includes the international financial transactions
of a country for commodities, services and capital transactions.
- Balance of Trade. The difference between a country's
total imports and exports. If exports exceed imports, a positive
balance of trade exists.
- Baltic Dry Index (BDI). Assessment of the average price
to ship raw materials (such as coal, iron ore, cement and grains)
on a number of shipping routes and by ship size. It is an indicator
of the cost paid to ship raw materials on global markets and an
important component of input costs. As such, the index is considered
as a leading indicator (forward looking) of economic activity since
it involves events taking place at the earlier stages of global
- Barge. A non-motorized water vessel, usually flat-bottomed
and towed or pushed by other craft, used for transporting freight.
Dominantly used on river systems.
- Barrel. A unit of volume equal to 42 U.S. gallons (or
159 liters) at 60 Degrees Fahrenheit, often used to measure volume
in oil production, price, transportation and trade.
- Base Period. The period between the morning and evening
peak periods when transit service is generally scheduled on a constant
interval. Also known as "off-peak period". The time of day during
which vehicle requirements and schedules are not influenced by peak-period
passenger volume demands (e.g., between morning and afternoon peak
periods). At this time, transit riding is fairly constant and usually
low to moderate in volume when compared with peak-period travel.
- Base Fare. The price charged to one adult for one transit
ride; excludes transfer charges, zone charges, express service charges,
peak period surcharges and reduced fares.
- Berth. A specific segment of wharfage where a ship ties
up alongside at a pier, quay, wharf, or other structure that provides
a breasting surface for the vessel. Typically, this structure is
a stationary extension of an improved shore and intended to facilitate
the transfer of cargo or passengers.
- Bill of Lading. A document that establishes the terms
of a contract between a shipper and a transportation company. It
serves as a document of title, a contract of carriage and a receipt
- Block. A group of railcars destined to the same location.
- Break-bulk cargo. Refers to general cargo that has been
packaged in some way with the use of bags, boxes or drums. This
cargo tends to have numerous origins, destinations and clients.
Before containerization, economies of scale were difficult to achieve
with break-bulk cargo as the loading and unloading process was very
labor and time consuming.
- Bridge. A structure including supports erected over a
depression or an obstruction, such as water, highway, or railway,
and having a track or passageway for carrying traffic or other moving
loads, and having an opening measured along the center of the roadway
of more than 20 feet between undercopings of abutments or spring
lines of arches, or extreme ends of openings for multiple boxes;
it may also include multiple pipes, where the clear distance between
openings is less than half of the smaller contiguous opening.
- British Thermal Unit (BTU). The amount of energy required
to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water 1 degree Fahrenheit
(F) at or near 39.2 degrees F and 1 atmosphere of pressure.
- Bulk Cargo. Refers to freight, both dry or liquid, that
is not packaged such as minerals (oil, coal, iron ore) and grains.
It often requires the use of specialized ships such as oil tankers
as well as specialized transshipment and storage facilities. Conventionally,
this cargo has a single origin, destination and client. It is also
prone to economies of scale.
- Bulk Carriers. All vessels designed to carry bulk cargo
such as grain, fertilizers, ore and oil.
- Bulk Terminal. A purpose-designed berth or mooring for
handling liquid or dry commodities, in unpackaged bulk form, such
as oil, grain, ore, and coal. Bulk terminals typically are installed
with specialized cargo handling equipment such as pipelines, conveyors,
pneumatic evacuators, cranes with clamshell grabs, and rail lines
to accommodate cargo handling operations with ships or barges. Commodity-specific
storage facilities such as grain silos, petroleum storage tanks,
and coal stock yards are also located at these terminals.
- Bus (Motorbus). Any of several types of self-propelled
vehicles, generally rubber-tired, intended for use on city streets,
highways, and busways, including but not limited to minibuses, forty
and thirty-foot buses, articulated buses, double-deck buses, and
electrically powered trolley buses, used by public entities to provide
designated public transportation service and by private entities
to provide transportation service including, but not limited to,
specified public transportation services. Self-propelled, rubber-tired
vehicles designed to look like antique or vintage trolleys are considered
- Bus, Trolley. An electric, rubber-tired transit vehicle,
manually steered, propelled by a motor drawing current through overhead
wires from a central power source not on board the vehicle. Also
known as "trolley coach" or "trackless trolley".
- Bus Lane. A street or highway lane intended primarily
for buses, either all day or during specified periods, but sometimes
also used by carpools meeting requirements set out in traffic laws.
- Bus Stop. A place where passengers can board or disembark
from a bus, usually identified by a sign.
- Cable Car. An electric railway operating in mixed street
traffic with unpowered, individually-controlled transit vehicles
propelled by moving cables located below the street surface and
powered by engines or motors at a central location not on board
- Cabotage. Transport between two terminals (a terminal
of loading and a terminal of unloading) located in the same country
irrespective of the country in which the mode providing the service
is registered. Cabotage is often subject to restrictions and regulations.
Under such circumstances, each nation reserves for its national
carriers the right to move domestic freight or passengers traffic.
- Canal. An artificial open waterway constructed to transport
water, to irrigate or drain land, to connect two or more bodies
of water, or to serve as a waterway for watercraft.
- Capesize: Refers to a rather ill- defined standard which
has the common characteristic of being incapable of using the Panama
or Suez canals, not necessarily because of their tonnage, but because
of their size. These ships serve deepwater terminals handling raw
materials, such as iron ore and coal. As a result, "Capesize" vessels
transit via Cape Horn (South America) or the Cape of Good Hope (South
Africa). Their size ranges between 80,000 and 175,000 dwt.
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2). A colorless, odorless, non-poisonous
gas that is a normal part of the ambient air. Carbon dioxide is
a product of fossil fuel combustion.
- Carbon Monoxide (CO). A colorless, odorless, highly toxic
gas that is a normal by-product of incomplete fossil fuel combustion.
Carbon monoxide, one of the major air pollutants, can be harmful
in small amounts if breathed over a certain period of time.
- Carpool. An arrangement where two or more people share
the use and cost of privately owned automobiles in traveling to
and from pre-arranged destinations together.
- Carrier. The company moving the passengers or freight.
- Catchment Area. Area or region whose economic, political,
cultural, social, etc. influence is felt over a larger area, it
is the radius of action of a given point. In transportation, it
consists in the area under influence of a focal point towards which
centripetal fluxes converge; an interception zone of several carriers.
Also labeled as Area of Influence or Hinterland.
- Centrality. Focus on the terminal as a point of origin
and destination of traffic. Thus, centrality is linked with the
generation and attraction of movements, which are related to the
nature and the level of economic activities within the vicinity
of the concerned terminal. The function of centrality also involves
a significant amount of intermodal activities.
- Charter. Originally meant a flight where a shipper contracted
hire of an aircraft from an air carrier, but has usually come to
mean any non-scheduled commercial service.
- City logistics. The means over which freight
distribution can take place in urban areas as well as the
strategies that can improve its overall efficiency, such as
mitigating congestion and environmental externalities.
- Class I Railroad. An American railroad with an annual
gross operating revenue in excess of $250 million based on 1991
- Clean Air Act (CAA). Federal legislation that sets national
air quality standards.
- Coach Service. Transport service established for the
carriage of passengers at special reduced passenger fares that are
predicated on both the operation of specifically designed aircraft
space and a reduction in the quality of service regularly and ordinarily
- Coal. A black or brownish-black solid, combustible substance
formed by the partial decomposition of vegetable matter without
access to air. The rank of coal, which includes anthracite, bituminous
coal, subbituminous coal, and lignite, is based on fixed carbon,
volatile matter, and heating value. Coal rank indicates the progressive
alteration, or coalification, from lignite to anthracite. Lignite
contains approximately 9 to 17 million British Thermal Unit (BTU)
per ton. The heat contents of subbituminous and bituminous coal
range from 16 to 24 million BTU per ton, and from 19 to 30 million
BTU per ton, respectively. Anthracite contains approximately 22
to 28 million BTU per ton.
- Cold Chain. A temperature controlled supply chain linked
to the material, equipment and procedures used to maintain specific
shipments within the appropriate temperature range. Often relates
to the distribution of food and pharmaceutical products.
- Combi. A type of aircraft whose main deck is divided
into two sections, one of which is fitted with seats and one which
is used for cargo.
- Commercial Geography. Investigates the spatial characteristics
of trade and transactions in terms of their cause, nature, origin
and destination. It leans on the analysis of contracts and transactions.
- Commodity. Resources that can be consumed and having
no qualitative differentiation. They can be accumulated for a period
of time (some are perishable while others can be virtually stored
for centuries), exchanged as part of transactions or purchased on
specific markets (such as futures market). Some commodities are
fixed, implying that they cannot be transferred, except for the
title. This includes land, mining, logging and fishing rights. In
this context, the value of a fixed commodity is derived from the
utility and the potential rate of extraction. Bulk commodities are
commodities that can be transferred, which includes for instance
grains, metals, livestock, oil, cotton, coffee, sugar and cocoa.
Their value is derived from utility, supply and demand (market price).
- Commodity Chain (Supply chain). A functionally integrated
network of production, trade and service activities that covers
all the stages in a supply chain, from the transformation of raw
materials, through intermediate manufacturing stages, to the delivery
of a finished good to a market. The chain is conceptualized as a
series of nodes, linked by various types of transactions, such as
sales and intrafirm transfers. Each successive node within a commodity
chain involves the acquisition or organization of inputs for the
purpose of added value.
- Common Carrier. A transportation company engaged in the
business of handling persons or freight for compensation and for
all customers impartially.
- Comparative Advantages. The relative efficiencies with
which countries (or any economic unit) can produce a product or
- Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). Natural gas which is comprised
primarily of methane, compressed to a pressure at or above 2,400
pounds per square inch and stored in special high-pressure containers.
It is used as a fuel for natural gas powered vehicles, mainly by
- Commuter. A person who travels regularly between home
and work or school.
- Commuter Bus Service. Fixed route bus service, characterized
by service predominantly in one direction during peak periods, limited
stops, use of multi-ride tickets, and routes of extended length,
usually between the central business district and outlying suburbs.
Commuter bus service may also include other service, characterized
by a limited route structure, limited stops, and a coordinated relationship
to another mode of transportation.
- Commuter Rail. Railroad local and regional passenger
train operations between a central city, its suburbs, and/or another
central city. It may be either locomotive-hauled or self-propelled,
and is characterized by multi-trip tickets, specific station-to-station
fares, railroad employment practices, and usually only one or two
stations in the central business district. Also known as "suburban
- Conference (liner). An association of ship owners operating
in the same trade route who operate under collective conditions
such as tariff rates and shared capacity. They provide international
liner services for the carriage of cargo on a particular route or
routes within specified geographical limits and which has an agreement
or arrangement within the framework of which they operate under
uniform or common freight rates and any other agreed conditions
with respect to the provision of liner services.
- Congestion. Occurs when transport demand exceeds transport
supply in a specific section of the transport system. Under such
circumstances, each vehicle impairs the mobility of others. Urban
congestion mainly concerns two domains of circulation, private and
public, often sharing the same infrastructures.
- Connecting Carrier. A carrier that has a direct physical
connection with another or forming a connecting link between two
or more carriers.
- Consignee. A person or company to whom commodities are
shipped. Officially, the legal owner of the cargo.
- Consolidated Shipment. A method of shipping whereby an
agent (freight forwarder or consolidator) combines individual consignments
from various shippers into one shipment made to a destination agent,
for the benefit of preferential rates. (Also called "groupage")
The consolidation is then de-consolidated by the destination agent
into its original component consignments and made available to consignees.
Consolidation provides shippers access to better rates than would
be otherwise attainable.
- Constant Dollars. Figures where the effect of change
in the purchasing power of the dollar has been removed. Usually
the data are expressed in terms of dollars of a selected year or
the average of a set of years.
- Container. A large standard size metal box into which
cargo is packed for shipment aboard specially configured oceangoing
containerships and designed to be moved with common handling equipment
enabling high-speed intermodal transfers in economically large units
between ships, railcars, truck chassis, and barges using a minimum
of labor. The container, therefore, serves as the transfer unit
rather than the cargo contained therein.
- Container On Flatcar (COFC). The movement of a container
on a railroad flat car. This movement is made without the container
being mounted on a chassis.
- Container Terminal. A set of facilities
supporting the handling (loading and unloading) of containers.
The intermodal relation defines the nature of the container
terminal, such as a container port, an intermodal terminal
(rail) or a barge terminal.
- Containerization. Refers to the increasing and
generalized use of the container as a support for freight transportation. It
process where the intermodal container is
increasingly used because it substitutes cargo from
other conveyances, it is adopted as a mode supporting
freight distribution and its spatial diffusion in
terms of the transport systems able to handle
- Containership. A cargo vessel designed and constructed
to transport, within specifically designed cells, portable tanks
and freight containers which are lifted on and off with their contents
intact. There are two types of containerships full and partial.
Full containerships are equipped with permanent container cells
with little or no space for other types of cargo. Partial containerships
are considered multi-purpose container vessels, where one or more
but not all compartments are fitted with permanent container cells,
and the remaining compartments are used for other types of cargo.
This category also includes container/car carriers, container/rail
car carriers, and container/roll-on/roll-off vessels.
- Conventional Car. A single platform flat car designed
to carry a trailer or container. Containers can only be single stacked
on a conventional car. Conventional cars are equipped with one or
two stanchions, depending on length, for shipment of one or two
- Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards. CAFE
standards were originally established by Congress for new automobiles,
and later for light trucks, in Title V of the Motor Vehicle Information
and Cost Savings Act (15 U.S.C. 1901, et seq.) with subsequent amendments.
Under CAFE, automobile manufacturers are required by law to produce
vehicle fleets with a composite sales-weighted fuel economy which
cannot be lower than the CAFE standards in a given year, or for
every vehicle which does not meet the standard, a fine of $5.00
is paid for every one-tenth of a mile per gallon below the standard.
- Corridor. A linear orientation of transport routes and
flows connecting important locations that act as origins, destinations
or points of transshipment. Corridors are multi-scalar entities
depending on what types of flows is being investigated. Thus, they
can be composed of streets, highways, transit routes, rail lines,
maritime lines, or air paths.
- Costs (Transport). Monetary measure of what the transport
provider must pay to produce transportation services and comes as
fixed (infrastructure) and variable (operating). They depend on
a variety of conditions related to geography, infrastructure, administrative
barriers, energy, and on how passengers and freight are carried.
Three major components, related to transactions, shipments and the
friction of distance, impact on transport costs.
- Cost - Benefit Analysis. A tool employed to evaluate
projects by providing with a set of values that are useful to
determine its feasibility from an economic standpoint.
- Costs-Insurance-Freight (CIF). Price of a good is a uniform
delivered price for all customers everywhere, with no spatially
variable shipping price, which implies that the average shipping
price is built into the price of a good. The CIF cost structure
can be expanded to include several rate zones.
- Cross-border transportation. The
activities, infrastructures and flows that insure the passage of
passengers and freight across an international border.
Cross-border transportation can be facilitated, monitored,
controlled and even prevented.
- Cross-Docking. A form of inventory management where goods
are received at one door of the distribution center / sorting facility
and shipped out through the other door on a very short amount of
time without putting them in storage. It consequently contributes
in the reduction of operating costs with an increase in the throughput
and with a reduction of inventory levels.
- Crude Oil Petroleum. A naturally occurring, oily, flammable
liquid composed principally of hydrocarbons. Crude oil is occasionally
found in springs or pools but usually is drilled from wells beneath
the earth's surface.
- Current Dollars. The dollar value of a good or service
in terms of prices current at the time the good or service is sold.
This contrasts with the value of the good or service measured in
- Deadhead. Miles and hours that a vehicle travels when
out of revenue service. This includes leaving and returning to the
garage, changing routes, etc., and when there is no reasonable expectation
of carrying revenue passengers. However, it does not include charter
service, school bus service, operator training, maintenance training,
etc. For non-scheduled, non-fixed-route service (demand responsive),
deadhead mileage also includes the travel between the dispatching
point and passenger pick-up or drop-off.
- Deadweight Tons. The lifting capacity of a ship, including cargo,
fuel, ballast and crew.
Reflects the weight difference between a fully loaded and an unloaded
- Demand Responsive. Non-fixed-route service utilizing
vans or buses with passengers boarding and alighting at pre-arranged
times at any location within the system's service area. Also called
- Demand (Transport). The expression of the transport needs,
even if those needs are satisfied, fully, partially or not at all.
Similar to transport supply, it is expressed in terms of number
of people, volume, or tons per unit of time and space.
- Deregulation. Consists in a shift to a competitive economic
climate by reorienting and/or suppressing regulatory mechanisms.
Deregulation, however, does not necessarily refer to complete absence
of free market regulation measures but rather to the promotion of
competition-inducing ones (which can seek elimination of monopolies,
for example). Particularly observed in the transport and telecommunications
- Design capacity. A theoretical capacity of a
transport infrastructure such as a road or terminal based of
specific operating conditions.
- Distribution Center (Freight). Facility or a group of
facilities that perform consolidation, warehousing, packaging, decomposition
and other functions linked with handling freight. Their main purpose
is to provide value-added services to freight and are a fundamental
component of freight distribution. DCs are often in proximity to
major transport routes or terminals. They can also perform light
manufacturing activities such as assembly and labeling.
- Dock. A feature built to handle ships. Can also refer
to an enclosed port area used for maritime operations.
- Double Stack. The movement of containers on articulated
rail cars which enables one container to be stacked on another for
better ride quality and car utilization.
- Downtime. A period during which a vehicle or a whole
system is inoperative because of repairs or maintenance.
- Drayage. The movement of a container or trailer to or
from the railroad intermodal terminal to or from the customer's
facility for loading or unloading.
- Dry Bulk Cargo. Cargo which may be loose, granular, free-flowing
or solid, such as grain, coal, and ore, and is shipped in bulk rather
than in package form. Dry bulk cargo is usually handled by specialized
mechanical handling equipment at specially designed dry bulk terminals.
- Dunnage. Packaging materials used to keep
cargo in place inside a container or transportation vehicle
- Dwell Time. The time a vehicle (bus, truck, train, or
ship) is allowed to load or unload passengers or freight at a terminal.
For freight operations, it refers to the amount of time cargo
stays in a terminal yard or storage area while waiting to be
loaded. Dwell time can be operational, which reflects the
performance of terminal infrastructures and management,
including the scheduling and availability of transport services.
It can also be transactional, which is usually linked with the
performance of clearance procedures (such as customs). Finally,
dwell time can be storage related, implying that the owner or
the carrier of the cargo deliberately leaves the cargo at the
terminal as part of a transport or supply chain management
- Dynamic Routing. In demand-response transportation systems,
the process of constantly modifying vehicle routes to accommodate
service requests received after the vehicle began operations, as
distinguished from predetermined routes assigned to a vehicle.
- Economic evaluation (also called Appraisal or Analysis)
refers to various methods for determining the value of a policy,
project or program to help individuals, businesses and communities
make decisions that involve tradeoffs. Economic evaluation is an
important part of transportation decision-making.
- Economies of agglomeration. The benefits of
having activities locate (cluster) next to another, such as the
use of common infrastructures and services.
- Economies of density. The benefits derived from the
increasing density of features on the costs of accessing them.
This could involve markets (e.g. consumption, labor) or
resources (e.g. mining, agriculture).
- Economies of scale. Cost reductions or productivity
efficiencies achieved through size-increase. The outcome is a
decrease in the unit cost of production associated with
- Economies of scope. Cost savings resulting from increasing
the number of different goods or services produced.
- Electronic data interchange (EDI): Communication mode
for inter- and intra-firm data ex-change in the freight forwarding
and logistics business.
- Energy. The capacity for doing work as measured by the
capability of doing work (potential energy) or the conversion of
this capability to motion (kinetic energy). Energy has several forms,
some of which are easily convertible and can be changed to another
form useful for work. Electrical energy is usually measured in kilowatt hours,
while heat energy is usually measured in British thermal units.
- Energy Intensity. In reference to transportation, the
ratio of energy inputs to a process to the useful outputs form that
process; for example, gallons of fuel per passenger-mile or Btu
- Environmental impact assessment. A process for carrying
out an appraisal of the full potential effects of a development
project on the physical environment.
- Environmental management system. A set of procedures
and techniques enabling an organization to reduce environmental
impacts and increase its operating efficiency.
- Ethanol. An alternative fuel; a liquid alcohol fuel with
vapor heavier than air; produced from agricultural products such
as corn, grain and sugar cane.
- European Union (EU). Formerly the European Community
(EC), the European Union since signing of the Maastricht Treaty
in November 1993. A regional trade block composed of 27 European
states. Its core institutions are known as the «institutional triangle»
composed of the European Parliament (Strasbourg), the Commission
(Brussels), and the EU Council (Brussels). Also of great notoriety
is the European Bank which manages the common currency.
- Exclusive Right-of-Way. A highway or other facility that
can only be used by buses or other transit vehicles.
- Externality (external cost). Economic cost not normally
taken into account in markets or in decisions by market players.
- Fare. The price paid by the user of a transport service
at the moment of use.
- Fare Elasticity. The extent to which ridership responds
to fare increases or decreases.
- Fare Structure. The system set up to determine how much
is to be paid by various passengers using a transit system at any
- Feeder. Short sea shipping service which connects at
least two ports in order for the freight (generally containers)
to be consolidated or redistributed to or from a deep-sea service
in one of these ports. By extension, this concept may be used for
inland transport services and air transportation.
- Ferryboat. A boat providing fixed-route service across
a body of water, which can be short or long distance.
- Fixed Cost. Costs that do not vary with the quantity
shipped in the short-run, i.e. costs that must be paid up-front
to begin producing transportation services..
- Fixed Route. Service provided on a repetitive, fixed-schedule
basis along a specific route with vehicles stopping to pick up and
deliver passengers or freight to specific locations; each fixed-route
trip serves the same origins and destinations, unlike demand responsive.
The terms apply to many modes of transportation, including public
transit, air services and maritime services.
- Flag State. Country of registry of a sea going vessel.
A sea going vessel is subject to the maritime regulations in respect
of manning scales, safety standards and consular representation
abroad of its country of registration.
- Flat Car. A freight car having a floor without any housing
or body above. Frequently used to carry containers and/or trailers
or oversized/odd-shaped commodities. The three types of flat cars
used in intermodal are conventional, spine and stack cars.
- Fleet. The vehicles in a transport system. Usually, "fleet"
refers to highway vehicles, rail vehicles as well as ships.
Foreland. A maritime space with which a port
performs commercial relationships. It includes overseas customers
with which the port undertakes commercial exchanges.
- Forwarding Agent / Freight Forwarder. Intermediary who
arranges for the carriage of goods and/or associated services on
behalf of a shipper.
- Fourth-Party Logistics Provider (4PL). Integrates the
resources of producers, retailers and third-party logistics providers
in view to build a system-wide improvement in supply chain management.
They are non-asset based meaning that they mainly provide organizational
- Freight On Board (FOB; or Free On Board). The price of a good is the combination
of the factory costs and the shipping costs from the factory to
the consumer. The consumer pays for the freight transport costs.
Consequently, the price of a commodity will vary according to transportation
- Free Trade Zone. A port or an area designated by the
government of a country for duty-free entry of any non-prohibited
goods. Merchandise may be stored, displayed, transformed, used for manufacturing,
discarded, etc., within the zone and re-exported without duties.
The area is thus a form of extraterritoriality since it is
outside the customs regime of a country.
- Freight Consignee and Handlers. Freight consignees are
independent of shippers or producers. They are commissioned by the
latter to accomplish all transport operations including storage,
transport, management, sometimes re-expedition, etc. from origin
to final destination. The notion of freight handler is broader.
It comprises any actor involved in transport of freight from origin
to destination including transport terminals and sub-contractual
services, for instance.
- Freight Distribution Center. See distribution center.
- Freight Forwarder. An individual or company that accepts
less-than-truckload (TLT) or less-than-carload (LCL) shipments from
shippers and combines them into carload or truckload lots. Carriers
collecting small shipments to be cumulatively consolidated and transported
relying upon a single or several modes of transportation to a given
destination. Functions performed by a freight forwarder may include
receiving small shipments (e.g., less than container load) from
consignors, consolidating them into larger lots, contracts with
carriers for transport between ports of embarkation and debarkation,
conducts documentation transactions, and arrange delivery of shipments
to the consignees.
- Freight Village. A concentration (or a cluster) of freight
related activities within a specific area, commonly built for such
a purpose, master planned and managed. These activities include
distribution centers, warehouses and storage areas, transport terminals,
offices and other facilities supporting those activities, such as
public utilities, parking space and even hotels and restaurants.
Although a freight village can be serviced by a single mode, intermodal
facilities can offer direct access to global and regional markets.
- Fringe Parking. An area for parking usually located outside
the Central Business District (CBD) and most often used by suburban
residents who work or shop downtown. Commonly corresponds to an
access point of a transit system, such as a rail or subway station.
- Fuel Cell. A device that produces electrical energy directly
from the controlled electrochemical oxidation of the fuel, commonly
hydrogen. It does not contain an intermediate heat cycle, as do
most other electrical generation techniques.
- Gasohol. A blend of motor gasoline (leaded or unleaded)
and alcohol (generally ethanol but sometimes methanol) limited to
10 percent by volume of alcohol. Gasohol is included in finished
leaded and unleaded motor gasoline.
- Gasoline. A complex mixture of relatively volatile hydrocarbons,
with or without small quantities of additives, obtained by blending
appropriate refinery streams to form a fuel suitable for use in
spark ignition engines. Motor gasoline includes both leaded or unleaded
grades of finished motor gasoline, blending components, and gasohol.
- Gateway. A location offering accessibility to a large
system of circulation of freight, passengers and/or information.
Gateways reap advantage of a favorable physical location such as
highway junctions, confluence of rivers, seaboards, and have been
the object of a significant accumulation of transport infrastructures
such as terminals and their links. A gateway generally commands
the entrance to and the exit from its catchment area. In other words,
it is a pivotal point for the entrance and the exit of merchandise
in a region, a country, or a continent. Gateways tend to be locations
where intermodal transfers are performed.
- General Cargo. General cargo consists of those products
or commodities such as timber, structural steel, rolled newsprint,
concrete forms, agricultural equipment that are not conducive to
packaging or unitization. Break-bulk cargo (e.g., packaged products
such as lubricants and cereal) are often regarded as a subdivision
of general cargo.
- Geographic Information System (GIS). A special-purpose
system composed of hardware and software in which a common spatial
coordinate system is the primary means of reference. GIS contain
subsystems for: data input; data storage, retrieval, and representation;
data management, transformation, and analysis; and data reporting
and product generation.
- GIS-T. Acronym for Transportation-oriented Geographic
- Graph Theory. A branch of mathematics concerned about
how networks can be encoded and their properties measured.
- Great Circle Distance. The shortest path between two
points on a sphere. The circumference inferred out of these two
points divides the earth in two equal parts, thus the great circle.
The great circle distance is useful to establish the shortest path
to use when traveling at the intercontinental air and maritime level.
The great circle route follows the sphericity of the globe, any
shortest route is the one following the curve of the planet, along
- Green Logistics. Supply chain management
practices and strategies that reduce the environmental and
energy footprint of freight distribution. They focus on material
handling, waste management, packaging and transport.
- Gross Domestic Product (GDP). A measure of the total
value of goods and services produced by a domestic economy during
a given period, usually one year. Obtained by adding the value contributed
by each sector of the economy in the form of profits, compensation
to employees, and depreciation (consumption of capital). Only domestic
production is included, not income arising from investments and
possessions owned abroad, hence the use of the word domestic.
- Gross National Product (GNP). The total market value
of goods and services produced during a given period by labor and
capital supplied by residents of a country, regardless of where
the labor and capital are located. GNP differs from GDP primarily
by including the capital income that residents earn from investments
abroad and excluding the capital income that nonresidents earn from
- Gross Register Tonnage. The total cargo
space available for a ship to carry commercial cargo. It
excludes non-cargo revenue space, such as the engine room and
- Handy and Handymax: Traditionally the workhorses of the
dry bulk market, the Handy and more recent Handymax types remain
popular ships with less than 50,000 dwt. This category is also used
to define small-sized oil tankers.
- Haulage, Carrier / Merchant. Carrier
haulage is an inland container movement (to or from a port
terminal) done by the ocean shipping company, often through a
parent company. The carrier is liable if the merchandise is lost
or damaged during transport, or if there is a delay. Merchant
haulage is when the importer or the exporter assumes the
transport of the container to or from a port terminal. The
merchant is liable if the cargo is lost or damaged. One of the
main advantages of merchant haulage is that it gives importers
and exporters more flexibility in the timing of inland
distribution, However, the merchant must pick and bring back the
container at a predesigned location and time.
- Headway. Time interval between vehicles moving in the
same direction on a particular route.
- Heavy Rail. An electric railway with the capacity for
a "heavy volume" of traffic and characterized by exclusive rights-of-way,
multi-car trains, high speed and rapid acceleration, sophisticated
signaling, and high platform loading.
- High-Occupancy-Vehicle Lane (HOV). An highway or road
lane reserved to vehicles that have a specific level of occupancy,
with at least one passenger. Often used to alleviate congestion
and favor carpooling.
- Hinterland. Land space over which a transport terminal,
such as a port, sells its services and interacts with its clients.
It accounts for the regional market share that a terminal has relative
to a set of other terminals servicing this region. It regroups all
the customers directly bounded to the terminal. The terminal, depending
on its nature, serves as a place of convergence for the traffic
coming by roads, railways or by sea/fluvial feeders.
- Hub. Central point for the collection, sorting, transshipment
and distribution of goods and passengers for a particular area.
This concept comes from a term used in air transport for passengers
as well as freight. It describes collection and distribution through
a single point such as the "Hub and Spoke" concept. Hubs tend to
be transmodal (transfers within the same mode) locations.
- Human Development Index (HDI).
- Inflation. Increase in the amount of currency in relation
to the availability of assets, commodities, goods and services.
Commonly the outcome of an indirect and fraudulent confiscation of wealth
through an over-issuance of currency by central
banks and governments. Although it directly influences prices, inflation
is outside the supply-demand relationship and decreases the purchasing
power, if wages are not increased accordingly. Almost all Central
Banks have inflationary policies which enables governments to run
deficits for decades by slowly devaluating the debt they contracted
in the past.
- Infrastructure. Capital goods that are not directly consumed
and serve as support to the functions of a society (individuals
and corporations). 1) In transport systems, all the fixed
components, such as rights-of-way, tracks, signal equipment, terminals,
parking lots, but stops, maintenance facilities, etc. 2) In transportation
planning, all the relevant elements of the environment in which
a transportation system operates.
- Inland Port. A rail or a barge terminal
that is linked to a maritime terminal with regular inland
transport services. An inland port has a level of integration
with the maritime terminal and supports a more efficient access
to the inland market both for inbound and outbound traffic. This
implies an array of related logistical activities linked with
the terminal, such as distribution centers, depots for
containers and chassis, warehouses and logistical service
- Integrated Carriers. Carriers that have both air and
ground fleets; or other combinations, such as sea, rail, and truck.
Since they usually handle thousands of small parcels an hour, they
are less expensive and offer more diverse services than regular
- Intermediacy. Focus on the terminal as an intermediate
point in the flows of passengers or freight. This term is applied
to the frequent occurrence of places gaining advantage because they
are between other places. The ability to exploit transshipment has
been an important feature of many terminals.
- Intermodal Terminal. A terminal which can accommodate
several modes of transportation. They increasingly tend to be specializing
at handling specific types of passengers or freight traffic, while
they may share the same infrastructures.
- Intermodal Transport. The movements of passengers or
freight from one mode of transport to another, commonly taking
place at a terminal specifically designed for such a purpose.
- Intermodalism. A system of transport whereby two or more
modes of transport are used to transport the same loading unit or
truck in an integrated manner, without loading or unloading, in
a transport chain. Typically used in three contexts: 1) most narrowly,
it refers to containerization, piggyback service, or other technologies
that provide the seamless movement of good and people by more than
one mode of transport. 2) more broadly, intermodalism refers to
the provision of connections between different modes, such as adequate
highways to ports or bus feeder services to rail transit. 3) In
its broadest interpretation, intermodalism refers to a holistic
view of transportation in which individual modes work together or
within their own niches to provide the user with the best choices
of service, and in which the consequences on all modes of policies
for a single mode are considered. This view has been called balanced,
integrated, or comprehensive transportation in the past.
- International Air Transportation Association (IATA).
Established in 1945, a trade association serving airlines, passengers,
shippers, travel agents, and governments. The association promotes
safety, standardization in forms (baggage checks, tickets, weight
bills), and aids in establishing international airfares. International
Air Transportation Association (IATA) headquarters are in Geneva,
- International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). A specialized
agency of the United Nations whose objective is to develop the principles
and techniques of international air navigation and to foster planning
and development of international civil air transport. International
Civil Aviation organization (ICAO) Regions include: (AFI) African
Indian Ocean Region, (CAR) Caribbean Region, (EUR) European Region,
(MID/ASIA) Middle East/Asia Region, (NAM) North American Region,
(NAT) North Atlantic Region, (PAC) Pacific Region, (SAM) South American
- International Commercial Terms (INCOTERMS).
Pre-defined commercial contract terms which stipulate exactly
which party owns cargo over the course of a shipment, as well as
who bears responsibility for transporting the cargo.
- International Maritime Organization (IMO). Established
as a specialized agency of the United Nations in 1948. The International
Maritime Organization (IMO) facilitates cooperation on technical
matters affecting merchant shipping and traffic, including improved
maritime safety and prevention of marine pollution. Headquarters
are in London, England.
- International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
Worldwide federation of national standards bodies from some 100
countries, one from each country. ISO is a non-governmental organization
established in 1947. The mission of ISO is to promote the development
of standardization and related activities in the world with a view
to facilitating the international exchange of goods and services,
and to developing cooperation in the spheres of intellectual, scientific,
technological and economic activity. ISO's work results in international
agreements which are published as International Standards.
- International Trade. An exchange of goods
or services across national jurisdictions. Inbound trade is
defined as imports and outbound trade is defined as exports.
Subject to the regulatory oversight and taxation of the involved
nations, namely through customs.
- Jet Stream. A migrating stream of high-speed winds present
at high altitudes.
- Jitney. Privately-owned, small or medium-sized vehicle
usually operated on a fixed route but not on a fixed schedule.
- Just-in-Time. The principle of production and inventory
management in which goods arrive when needed for production or consumption.
Warehousing tends to be minimal or non-existent, but in all case
much more efficient and more limited in duration.
- Knot, Nautical. The unit of speed equivalent to one nautical
mile: 6,080.20 feet per hour or 1.85 kilometers per hour.
- Lading. Refers to the freight shipped; the contents of
- Landbridge. An intermodal connection between two ocean
carriers separated by a land mass, linked together in a seamless
transaction by a land carrier.
- Landed Cost. The dollar per barrel price of crude oil
at the port of discharge. Included are the charges associated with
the purchase, transporting, and insuring of a cargo from the purchase
point to the port of discharge. Not included are charges incurred
at the discharge port (e.g., import tariffs or fees, wharfage charges,
and demurrage charges).
- Layover Time. Time built into a schedule between arrival
at the end of a route and the departure for the return trip, used
for the recovery of delays and preparation for the return trip.
- Less than Truckload (LTL). A shipment that would not
by itself fill the truck to capacity by weight or volume.
- Letter of Credit.
- Level of Service. 1) A set of characteristics that indicate
the quality and quantity of transportation service provided, including
characteristics that are quantifiable and those that are difficult
to quantify. 2) For highway systems, a qualitative rating of the
effectiveness of a highway or highway facility in serving traffic,
in terms of operating conditions. A rating of traffic flow ranging
from A (excellent) through F (heavily congested), and compares actual
or projected traffic volume with the maximum capacity of the intersection
or road in question. 3) For paratransit, a variety of measures meant
to denote the quality of service provided, generally in terms of
total travel time or a specific component of total travel time.
4) For pedestrians, sets of area occupancy classifications to connect
the design of pedestrian facilities with levels of service.
- Light-Rail Transit (LRT). Fixed guideway transportation
mode that typically operates on city streets and draws it electric
power from overhead wires; include streetcars, trolley cars and
tramways. Differs from heavy rail -- which has a separated right
of way, and includes commuter and intercity rail -- in that it has
lighter passenger capacity per hour and more closely spaced stops.
- Lighter-Aboard-Ship (LASH). A type of barge carrying
vessel equipped with an overhead crane capable of lifting barges
of a common size and stowing them into cellular slots in athwartship
position. Lighter Aboard Ship (LAS) is an all-water technology analogous
- Line Haul Costs. Costs that vary with distance shipped,
i.e., costs of moving goods and people once they are loaded on the
- Liner. Derived from the term "line traffic," which denotes
operation along definite routes on the basis of definite, fixed
schedules. A liner thus is a vessel that engages in this kind of
transportation, which usually involves the haulage of general cargo
as distinct from bulk cargo.
- Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). An alternative fuel; a natural
gas cooled to below its boiling point of -260 degrees Fahrenheit
so that it becomes a liquid; stored in a vacuum type container at
very low temperatures and under moderate pressure. LNG vapor is
lighter than air.
- Load Factor. The ratio of passengers or freight actually
carried versus the total passenger or freight capacity of
a vehicle or a route.
- Logistics. The process of designing and managing the
supply chain in the wider sense. The chain can extend from the
delivery of supplies for manufacturing, through the management
of materials at the plant, delivery to warehouses and
distribution centers, sorting, handling, packaging and final
distribution to point of consumption. A more fitted meaning
consists in the set of all operations required for goods
(material or nonmaterial) to be made available on markets or to
- Logistic zone. Grouping of activities dealing with freight
transportation (freight forwarders, shippers, transport operators,
customs) and related services (storage, maintenance and repair)
within a defined area.
- Logit Model. A probabilistic model for representing a
discrete choice behavior of individuals. On any choice occasion
the individual is assumed to choose the mode of highest preference.
Over repeated choice occasions preferences are assumed to have a
probabilistic component. For the logit model this random component
of preference is taken to have a double exponential distribution.
- Long Ton. 2,240 pounds.
- Lowry Model. One of the first transportation / land use
model to be designed.
- Maglev - Magnetic Levitation. Technology enabling trains
to move at high speed above a guideway on a cushion generated by
- Manifest. A list of the goods being transported by a
- Marginal Utility. The utility derived from
the production or consumption of one additional unit. Declining
marginal utility implies that each additional unit produced or
consumed involves less derived utility than the previous one.
This is common in retailing where a consumer derives lower
benefits from owning more of the same good. Increasing marginal
utility implies that each additional unit produced or consumed
involves more derived utility than the previous one. This is
common in manufacturing where the principle of economies of
scale underlines that each additional produced unit comes with a
higher utility (profit) for the producer.
- Maritime Routes. Corridors of a few kilometers in width
trying to avoid the discontinuities of land transport by linking
ports, the main elements of the maritime / land interface. Maritime
routes are a function of obligatory points of passage, which are
strategic places, of physical constraints (coasts, winds, marine
currents, depth, reefs, ice) and of political borders. As a result,
maritime routes draw arcs on the earth water surface as intercontinental
maritime transportation tries to follow the great circle distance.
- Maritime Terminal. A designated area of a port, which
includes but not limited to wharves, warehouses, covered and open storage spaces, cold storage plants, grain elevators and
bulk cargo loading and unloading structures, landings, and receiving
stations, used for the transmission, care, and convenience of cargo
and/or passengers in the interchange of same between land and water
carriers or between two water carriers.
- Market Area. The surface over which a demand offered
at a specific location is expressed. Commonly, a customer is assumed
to go to a location where a product or service can be acquired or
a part or a finished good has to be shipped from the place of production
to the place of consumption.
- Materials Management. Considers all the activities related
in the manufacturing of commodities in all their stages of production
along a supply chain. It includes production and marketing activities
such as production planning, demand forecasting, purchasing and
inventory management. It must insure that the requirements of supply
chains are met by dealing with a wide array of parts for assembly
and raw materials, including packaging (for transport and retailing)
and, ultimately, recycling discarded commodities. All these activities
are assumed to be inducing physical distribution demands.
- MERCOSUR. A trade alliance between Argentina, Brazil,
Paraguay and Uruguay, with Chile and Bolivia as associate members.
- Methanol. An alternative fuel; a liquid alcohol fuel
with vapor heavier than air; primarily produced from natural gas.
- Microbridge. A cargo movement in which the water carrier
provides a through service between an inland point and the port
- Minibridge. A joint water, rail or truck container move
on a single Bill of Lading for a through route from a foreign port
to a U.S. port destination through an intermediate U.S. port or
- Mobility. Refers to a movement of people or freight.
It can have different levels linked to the speed, capacity and efficiency
- Modal Share. The percentage of total passengers or freight
moved by a particular type of transportation.
- Modal Split (share). 1) The proportion of total person
trips that uses each of various specified modes of transportation.
2) The process of separating total person trips into the modes of
travel used. 3) A term that describes how many people use alternative
forms of transportation. It is frequently used to describe the percentage
of people who use private automobiles, as opposed to the percentage
who user public transportation.
- Mode, Transport. The physical way a movement is performed.
- Model. An analytical tool (often mathematical) used by
transportation planners to assist in making forecasts of land use,
economic activity, travel activity and their effects on the quality
of resources such as land, air and water.
- Monorail. An electric railway in which a rail car or
train of cars is suspended from or straddles a guideway formed by
a single beam or rail. Most monorails are either heavy rail or automated
- Motorway / Highway. Road, specially designed and built
for motor traffic, which does not serve properties bordering on
it, and which: (a) is provided, except at special points or temporarily,
with separate carriageways for the two directions of traffic, separated
from each other, either by a dividing strip not intended for traffic,
or exceptionally by other means; (b) does not cross at level with
any road, railway or tramway track, or footpath; (c) is specially
sign-posted as a motorway and is reserved for specific categories
of road motor vehicles. Entry and exit lanes of motorways are included
irrespectively of the location of the sign-posts. Urban motorways
are also included.
- Multimodal Platform. A physical converging point where
freight and/or passenger transshipment takes place between different
modes of transportation, usually a transport terminal.
- National Transportation System. An intermodal system
consisting of all forms of transportation in a unified, interconnected
manner to reduce energy consumption and air pollution while promoting
economic development and supporting the Nation's preeminent position
in international commerce. The NTS includes the National Highway
System (NHS), public transportation and access to ports and airports.
- North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Came into
force on January 1st 1994. NAFTA binds Canada, the United-States
and Mexico over respect of a series of common economics rules. Beside
the liberalization of exchange of goods and services, the NAFTA
regulates investments, intellectual property, publics markets and
the non-tariff barrier. The NAFTA is a result of a tradition of
trade negotiations between Canada and the U.S. that became explicit
with the 1989 Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the 1991 Canada-U.S.
Trade Agreement (CUSTA).
- Net Tonnage. The net or register tonnage of a vessel
is the remainder after deducting from the gross tonnage of the vessel
the tonnage of crew spaces, master's accommodations, navigation
spaces, allowance for propelling power, etc. It is expressed in
tons of 100 cubic feet.
- Network. Framework of routes within a system of locations,
identified as nodes. A route is a single link between two nodes
that are part of a larger network that can refer to tangible routes
such as roads and rails, or less tangible routes such as air and
- Network Analysis. The pattern of transportation systems,
the location of routes or rails, the location of intersections,
nodes and terminals can be considered as a network. However, on
the analytic side, more attention is paid to the whole system rather
than to single routes or terminals. Networks analysis aims at identifying
flows, shortest distances between two given points, or the less
expensive road to take for transporting goods between those points.
To facilitate the task, networks have been approximated by the use
of the graph theory relying on topology.
- Nitrogen Oxides. A product of combustion of fossil fuels
whose production increases with the temperature of the process.
It can become an air pollutant if concentrations are excessive.
- Ocean Bill of Lading. A receipt for the cargo and a contract
for transportation between a shipper and the ocean carrier. It may
also be used as an instrument of ownership which can be bought,
sold, or traded while the goods are in transit.
- Oceanic Airspace. Airspace over the oceans of the world,
considered international airspace, where oceanic separation and
procedures per the International Civil Aviation Organization are
applied. Responsibility for the provisions of air traffic control
service in this airspace is delegated to various countries, based
generally upon geographic proximity and the availability of the
- Off-Peak Period. Non-rush periods of the day when travel
activity is generally lower and less transit service is scheduled.
Also called "base period".
- Offshoring. The transfer of an
organizational of production function to another country,
whether the work is outsourced or stays within the same
- Offshore hub. A port terminal that dominantly serve transmodal
operations, implying limited connections in relation to its total
traffic with its hinterland. They are mainly used to feedering,
relay and interlining between maritime shipping routes. The term
offshore can be misleading as many ports performing this function
are located at standard port locations.
- Operating Cost. Costs that vary with the quantity shipped
in the short-run. 1) Fixed operating cost: refers to expenditures
that are independent of the amount of use. For a car, it would involve
costs such as insurance costs, fees for license and registration,
depreciation and finance charges; 2) Variable operating cost: expenditures
which are dependent on the amount of use. For a car, it would involve
costs such as the cost of gasoline, oil, tires, and other maintenance.
- Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
In 1961 it replaced the Organization for European Economic
Cooperation (OEEC) created in 1948 to facilitate post-war reconstruction of
Europe via American aid. It acts as a policy leveling forum
where government representatives of member states seek to
harmonize economic policies touching such sectors as commerce,
industry, cooperation, foreign aid and agriculture.
- Outsourcing. The practice of having some
activities that used to be performed within a corporation by another corporation. It often enables to
reduce costs and focus on core competencies by outsourcing low
productivity tasks to a sub-contractor.
- Pallet. A raised platform, normally made of wood, facilitating
the handling of goods. Pallets are of standard dimensions.
- Pandemic. An epidemic of infectious disease that spreads
through human populations across a large area, even worldwide.
- Panamax. A maritime standard corresponding to about 65,000
deadweight tons or 4,200 TEU. Refer to a ship with dimensions that
allow it to pass through the Panama canal: maximum length 295 m,
maximum beam overall 32.25 m, maximum draught 13.50 m.
- Park and Ride. An access mode to transit in which patrons
drive private automobiles or ride bicycles to a transit station,
stop, or carpool/vanpool waiting area and park the vehicle in the
area provided for the purpose. They then ride the transit system
or take a car-or vanpool to their destinations.
- Particulates. Carbon particles formed by partial oxidation
and reduction of the hydrocarbon fuel. Also included are trace quantities
of metal oxides and nitrides, originating from engine wear, component
degradation, and inorganic fuel additives. In the transportation
sector, particulates are emitted mainly from diesel engines.
- Passenger-km (or Passenger-mile). The total number of
miles (km) traveled by passengers on vehicles; determined by multiplying
the number of unlinked passenger trips times the average length
of their trips.
- Payload. Weight of commodity being hauled. Includes packaging,
pallets, banding, etc., but does not include the truck, truck body,
- Peak oil. A theory concerning oil production initially
brought by the geophysicist King Hubbert published in 1956, that
assumes due to the finite nature of oil reserves that production
will at some point reach maximum output. Once peak production has
been reached, production declines and prices go up until oil resources
are depleted or too costly to have a widespread use.
- Peak period (hour). Represent a time period of high usage
of a transport system. For transit, it refers to morning and afternoon
time periods when ridership is at its highest.
- Peak/Base Ratio. The number of vehicles operated in passenger
or freight service during the peak period divided by the number
operated during the base period.
- Pendulum service. Involves a set of sequential port calls
along a maritime range, commonly including a transoceanic service
from ports in another range and structured as a continuous loop.
They are almost exclusively used for container transportation with
the purpose of servicing a market by balancing the number of port
calls and the frequency of services.
- Physical distribution. The collective term for the range
of activities involved in the movement of goods from points of production
to final points of sale and consumption. It must insure that the
mobility requirements of supply chains are entirely met. Physical
distribution comprises all the functions of movement and handling
of goods, particularly transportation services (trucking, freight
rail, air freight, inland waterways, marine shipping, and pipelines),
transshipment and warehousing services (e.g. consignment, storage,
inventory management), trade, wholesale and, in principle, retail.
Conventionally, all these activities are assumed to be derived from
materials management demands.
- Piggyback Trailers. Trailers which are designed for quick
loading on railcars.
- Pipeline. A continuous pipe conduit, complete with such
equipment as valves, compressor stations, communications systems,
and meters for transporting natural and/or supplemental gas from
one point to another, usually from a point in or beyond the producing
field or processing plant to another pipeline or to points of utilization.
Also refers to a company operating such facilities.
- Planning. Refers to a process that allows people's
needs, preferences and values to be reflected in decisions.
Planning occurs at many different levels, from day-to-day
decisions make by individuals and families, to major decisions
made by governments and businesses that have comprehensive,
long-term impacts on society. Management can be considered a
short-term form of planning, while planning can be considered
longer-term form of management.
- Platform / modular manufacturing. Strategy in which a
multinational corporation retains its core competencies, namely
its research and development, retailing, marketing and distribution,
while subcontracting much of the manufacturing to the lowest bidders.
- Policy (Transport). The development of a set of constructs
and propositions that are established to achieve particular objectives
relating to social, economic and environmental development, and
the functioning and performance of the transport system.
- Port. A harbor area in which are located marine terminal
facilities for transferring cargo between ships and land transportation.
- Port Authority. An entity of state or local government
that owns, operates, or otherwise provides wharf, dock and other
marine terminal investments at ports.
- Port holding. An entity, commonly private, that owns
or lease port terminals in a variety of locations. It is also known
as a port terminal operator.
- Port of Entry. A port at which foreign goods are admitted
into the receiving country. Also refers to an air terminal or land
access point (customs) where foreign passengers and freight can
enter a country.
- Port Regionalization. A strategy aiming at
improving the regional accessibility and connectivity of a port
by better linking it to its hinterland. This includes the
development of intermodal services, particularly by rail and
barges, and the setting of intermodal facilities such as inland
- Primary Transportation. Conveyance of large shipments
of petroleum raw materials and refined products usually by pipeline,
barge, or ocean-going vessel. All crude oil transportation is primary,
including the small amounts moved by truck. All refined product
transportation by pipeline, barge, or ocean-going vessel is primary
- Product Life Cycle. Defined as the period that starts
with the initial product design (research and development) and ends
with the withdrawal of the product from the marketplace. A product
life cycle is characterized by specific stages, including research,
development, introduction, maturity, decline, and obsolescence.
- Propane. An alternative fuel; a liquid petroleum gas
(LPG) which is stored under moderate pressure and with vapor heavier
than air; produced as a by-product of natural gas and oil production.
- Public Transportation. Passenger transportation services,
usually local in scope, that is available to any person who pays
a prescribed fare. It operates on established schedules along designated
routes or lines with specific stops and is designed to move relatively
large numbers of people at one time.
- Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID): Technology
that uses small devices attached to objects that transmit data to
a receiver. An alternative to bar coding used for identification
and tracking purposes, notably for items shipped in units (boxes,
containers, etc.), but can also be attached to an individual item.
Main technical advantages include data storage capacity, read/write
capability, and no line-of-sight requirements during scanning.
- Railroad. All forms of non-highway ground transportation
that run on rails or electro-magnetic guideways, including; 1) Commuter
or other short-haul rail passenger service in a metropolitan or
suburban area, and 2) High speed ground transportation systems that
connect metropolitan areas, without regard to whether they use new
technologies not associated with traditional railroads. Such term
does not include rapid transit operations within an urban area that
are not connected to the general railroad system of transportation.
- Rail, Commuter. Railroad local and regional passenger
train operations between a central city, its suburbs and/or another
central city. It may be either locomotive-hauled or self-propelled,
and is characterized by multi-trip tickets, specific station-to-station
fares, railroad employment practices and usually only one or two
stations in the central business district. Also known as "suburban
- Rail, Heavy. An electric railway with the capacity for
a "heavy volume" of traffic and characterized by exclusive rights-of-way,
multi-car trains, high speed and rapid acceleration, sophisticated
signaling and high platform loading. Also known as "rapid rail,"
"subway," "elevated (railway)" or "metropolitan railway (metro)".
- Rail, High Speed. A rail transportation system with exclusive
right-of-way which serves densely traveled corridors at speeds of
124 miles per hour (200 km/h) and greater.
- Rail, Light. An electric railway with a "light volume"
traffic capacity compared to heavy rail. Light rail may use shared
or exclusive rights-of-way, high or low platform loading and multi-car
trains or single cars. Also known as "streetcar," "trolley car"
- Rapid Transit. Rail or motorbus transit service operating
completely separate from all modes of transportation on an exclusive
- Rate. The price of transportation services paid by the
consumer. They are the negotiated monetary cost of moving a passenger
or a unit of freight between a specific origin and destination.
Rates are often visible to the consumers since transport providers
most provide this information to secure transactions.
- Reefer Ship. General cargo ship with 80 per cent or more
insulated cargo space.
- Ridesharing. A form of transportation, other than public
transit, in which more than one person shares the use of the vehicle,
such as a van or car, to make a trip. Also known as "carpooling"
- Ridership. The number of rides taken by people using
a public transportation system in a given time period.
- Road train. A tractor unit pulling two or
more trailers linked together.
- Roll On/Roll Off (RO/RO) Vessel. Ships which are especially
designed to carry wheeled containers trailers, or other wheeled
cargo, and use the roll-on/roll-off method for loading and unloading.
Main method to transport automobiles on international markets.
- Rolling Stock. The vehicles used in a transit system,
including buses and rail cars.
- Rubber Wheel/Tire Interchange. Containers
or trailers that are interchanged between two railroads by means
- Semi-Trailer. A non-powered vehicle for the carriage
of goods, intended to be coupled to a motor vehicle in such a way
that a substantial part of its weight and of its load is borne by
the motor vehicle.
- "Seven Sisters". The seven major oil multinationals which
by the early 20th century have achieved dominance over the industry.
Five of them were American and the two other were British. The American
companies included Exxon (Standard Oil of New Jersey), Mobil (Standard
Oil of New York) and Socal (Standard Oil of California which later
became Chevron), which were the result of the forced breakup of
Standard Oil in 1911, and Gulf and Texaco which were created after
the discovery of the Spindletop field in Texas in 1901. The British
companies were Royal Dutch Shell (a joint venture with the Netherlands)
and British Petroleum (BP), whose interest in world oil expanded
with the discovery of oil fields in Persia (Iraq) and in the Dutch
East Indies (Indonesia). Through mergers and acquisitions the "Seven
Sisters" have become four; ExxonMobil, Chevron-Texaco, BP (acquired
Amoco and Arco) and Royal Dutch Shell.
- Shelf life: A term used to describe the
length of time a commodity (e.g. food, drugs, chemicals) is
suitable to be used or consumed. It mostly applies to
temperature sensitive goods.
- Shimbel Index. Measures the minimum number of links necessary
to connect one node with all other nodes in a defined graph.
- Shipper. The company sending goods.
- Short Sea Shipping. Commercial waterborne transportation
that does not transit an ocean. It is an alternative form of commercial
transportation that utilizes inland and coastal waterways to move
commercial freight from major domestic ports to its destination.
- Shunting. Operation related to moving a rail vehicle
or set of rail vehicles within a railway installations (station,
depot, workshop, marshalling yard, etc.). It mainly concerns the
assembly and disassembly of unit trains.
- Shuttle. A public or private vehicle that travels back
and forth over a particular route, especially a short route or one
that provides connections between transportation systems, employment
- Silk Road. Historical trade route linking the Eastern
Mediterranean basin to Central and East Asia. Named as such because
of many prized commodities, namely silk, tea and jade, that were
carried from China. Was operational between the 1st century BC and
the 16th century.
- Single-Occupant Vehicle (SOV). A vehicle with one occupant,
the driver, who is sometimes referred to as a "drive alone".
- Site. The geographical characteristics of a specific
- Situation. The relationships a location has in regard
to other locations.
- Source loading. Refer to the loading of a shipment, commonly
in a container, at the location where the goods it carries are produced.
The shipment remains untouched until it reaches its destination,
thus conferring a level of integrity in the supply chain.
- Spatial Interaction. A realized movement of people, freight
or information between an origin and a destination. It is a transport
demand / supply relationship expressed over a geographical space.
Spatial interactions cover a wide variety of movements such as journeys
to work, migrations, tourism, the usage of public facilities, the
transmission of information or capital, the market areas of retailing
activities, international trade and freight distribution.
- Spatial Structure. The manner which space is organized
by the cumulative locations of infrastructure, economic activities
and their relations.
- Steel Wheel Interchange. Containers or
trailers that are interchanged between two railroads while on
the railroad flatcar.
- Suezmax: Standard which represents the limitations of
the Suez Canal. Before 1967, the Suez Canal could only accommodate
tanker ships with a maximum of 80,000 dwt. The canal was closed
between 1967 and 1975 because of the Israel - Arab conflict. Once
it reopened in 1975, the Suezmax capacity went to 150,000 dwt. An
enlargement to enable the canal to accommodate 200,000 dwt tankers
is being considered.
- Supply Chain. See commodity chain.
- Supply Chain Management (SCM). The management of the
whole commodity/supply chain, from suppliers, manufacturers, retailers
and the final customers. To achieve higher productivity and better
returns, SCM mainly try to reduce inventory, increase transaction
speeds, and satisfy the needs of the customers in terms of cost,
quantity, quality and delivery as much as possible.
- Supply (Transport). The capacity of transportation infrastructures
and modes, generally over a geographically defined transport system
and for a specific period of time. Therefore, supply is expressed
in terms of infrastructures (capacity), services (frequency) and
networks. The number of passengers, volume (for liquids or containerized
traffic), or mass (for freight) that can be transported per unit
of time and space is commonly used to quantify transport supply.
- Sustainable Development. Development which
meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability
of future generations to meet their own needs.
- Tanker. An oceangoing ship specially designed to haul
liquid bulk cargo in world trade, particularly oil.
- Tare Weight. a) The weight of a container and the material
used for packing. b) As applied to a car/trailer, the weight
of the car/trailer exclusive of its contents.
- Tariff. A general term for any listing of rates or charges.
The tariffs most frequently encountered in foreign trade are: tariffs
of international transportation companies operating on sea, land,
and in the air; tariffs of international cable, radio, and telephone
companies; and the customs tariffs of the various countries that
list goods that are duty free and those subject to import duty,
giving the rate of duty in each case.
Telecommuting. Using information and telecommunication
technologies to perform work at a location away from the traditional
office location and environment.
- Terminal. Any location where freight and passengers either
originates, terminates, or is handled in the transportation process.
Terminals are central and intermediate locations in the movements
of passengers and freight. They often require specific facilities
to accommodate the traffic they handle.
- Terminal costs. Costs of loading and unloading. They
do not vary with distance shipped.
- Thalweg. The deepest water at any point in a river. The
longitudinal line of greatest continuous depth in the river channel.
- Third-Party logistics provider (3PL). An asset based
company that offers logistics and supply chain management services
to its customers (manufacturers and retailers). It commonly owns
distribution centers and transport modes.
- Threshold. The minimum and vital market size required
to support a given type of economic activity. A mean number of passengers
per trip can be identified to sustain profitability of a coach line,
for example. A threshold thus rests on a level of demand and can
play a determining role in organizing both freight and passenger
transport structures on the basis of demographic dynamics, geographic
relations to markets and intensity of economic activities.
- Ton. A unit a measurement of weight, frequently used
in freight transport statistics. A metric ton is equivalent to 1,000
kilograms or 2,205 pounds. A short ton is equivalent to 2,000 pounds
or 0.908 metric tons (in the United States the term ton is commonly
used but implies short ton). A long ton, a term not as frequently
used, is equivalent to 2,240 pounds or 1.06 metric tons.
- Ton-km (or ton-mile). Measure expressing the realized
freight transport demand. Although both the passenger-km and ton-km
are most commonly used to measure realized demand, the measure can
equally apply for transport supply.
- Track Gauge. The distance between the internal sides
of rails on a railway line. The standard gauge is generally 1.435 m. Other gauges
are used for instance, in Spain and Portugal (1.676 m) or in the Russian Federation
- Trailer on Flat Car (TOFC). A rail trailer or container
mounted on a chassis that is transported on a rail car. Also known
- Tramp. An oceangoing vessel that does not operate along
a definite route or on a fixed schedule, but rather calls at any
port where cargo is available.
- Transactions. In the business domain, a transaction is
synonymous with exchange and refers to a commercial operation. Generally,
before a transaction, there are some negotiations. Transactions
generate varying costs, depending on the stakes, the competition,
the context of the economic market, etc.
- Transaction costs. Costs required for gathering information,
negotiating, and enforcing contracts, letters of credit and transactions.
Often referred as the cost of doing business.
- Transit system. An organization (public or private) providing
local or regional multi-occupancy-vehicle passenger service. Organizations
that provide service under contract to another agency are generally
not counted as separate systems.
- Transloading. The transshipment of loads from truck to
rail and vice-versa. It is done to exploit the respective advantages
of trucking and rail, namely avoid long distance trucking. Also
refer to the moving of the contents of a container such as 40 foot
maritime container, into another container, such as 53 foot domestic
container, or a regular truckload.
- Transmodal transportation. The movements of passengers
or freight within the same mode of transport. Although "pure" transmodal
transportation rarely exists and an intermodal operation is often
required (e.g. ship to dockside to ship), the purpose is to insure
continuity within the network.
- Transport Geography. Sub-discipline of geography concerned
about movements of freight, people and information. It seeks to
link spatial constraints and attributes with the origin, the destination,
the extent, the nature and the purpose of movements.
- Transportability. The ease of movement of passengers,
freight or information. It is related to transport costs as well
as to the attributes of what is being transported (fragility, perishable,
price). Political factors can also influence transportability such
as laws, regulations, borders and tariffs. When transportability
is high, activities are less constrained by distance.
- Transshipment. The transfer of goods from one carrier
to another and/or from one mode to the other.
- Trip Assignment. In planning, a process by which trips,
described by mode, purpose, origin, destination, and time of day,
are allocated among the paths or routes in a network by one of a
number of models.
- Trip Generation. In planning, the determination or prediction
of the number of trips produced by and attracted to each zone.
- Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU). A standard unit based
on an ISO container of 20 feet length (6.10 m), used as a statistical
measure of traffic flows or capacities. One standard 40 feet ISO
Series 1 container equals 2 TEUs.
- Ultra Large Crude Carriers (ULCC). Tanker ships from
300,000 to 550,000 dwt in size. Used for carrying crude oil on long
haul routes from the Persian Gulf to Europe, America and East Asia,
via the Cape of Good Hope or the Strait of Malacca. The enormous
size of these vessels requires custom built terminals.
- Unit Load. Packages loaded on a pallet, in a crate or
any other way that enables them to be handled as a unit.
- Unit Load Device. A container that has been
specifically designed to fit the cargo storage area of an
- Unlinked Passenger Trips. The number of passengers who
board public transportation vehicles. A passenger is counted each
time he/she boards a vehicle even though he/she may be on the same
journey from origin to destination.
- Upstream / Downstream. Refers to the relative location
of a given activity along a supply chain. Upstream generally
refers to the suppliers while downstream refers to the
- Urban Form. The spatial imprint of an urban transport
system as well as the adjacent physical infrastructures and socioeconomic
activities. Jointly, they confer a level of spatial arrangement
- Variable Cost. A cost that varies in relation to the
level of operational activity.
- Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC). A crude oil carrying
ship of between 150,000 and 320,000 deadweight tons. They offer
a good flexibility for using terminals since many can accommodate
their draft. They are used in ports that have depth limitations,
mainly around the Mediterranean, West Africa and the North Sea.
They can be ballasted through the Suez Canal.
- Vessel. Every description of watercraft, used or capable
of being used as a means of transportation on the water.
- Vessel sharing agreement. Agreement between
two or more ocean carriers in which a number of container slots
are reserved on particular vessels for each of the participants
(right to book slots and obligation of the other carrier to
carry the containers). Used to create operational efficiencies
across carriers, namely a higher level of slot usage, with more port calls and higher frequency of
- Warehouse. A place for the reception, delivery, consolidation,
distribution, and storage of freight.
- Waterway. River, canal, lake or other stretch of water
that by natural or man-made features is suitable for navigation.
- Waybill. A document covering a shipment and showing the
forwarding and receiving station, the names of consignor and consignee,
the car initials and number, the routing, the description and weight
of the commodity, instructions for special services, the rate, total
charges, advances and waybill reference for previous services and
the amount prepaid.
- Weight. Gross: The weight of the goods including packing,
wrappers, or containers, both internal and external. The total weight
as shipped. Net: The weight of the goods themselves without the
inclusion of any wrapper. Tare: The weight of the packaging or container.
Weight/Measurement Ton: In many cases, a rate is shown per weight/measurement
ton, carrier's option. This means that the rate will be assessed
on either a weight ton or measurement ton basis, whichever will
yield the carrier the greater revenue. Weight Ton: Metric measure
equals 1000 Kilograms; in English measure a short ton is 2000 pounds,
a long ton is 2240 pounds.
- Wharf. A landing place where vessels may tie up for loading
and unloading of cargo.
- World Bank. A financial body part of the United Nations
system. The World Bank was created in 1944 at the outlet of the
Bretton Woods financial and monetary conference. First loans helped
finance reconstruction of Western Europe and Japan following World
War II, but today the World Bank has considerably broadened its
presence throughout the globe, lending to countries of Africa, Asia,
Central Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and the former Soviet
Union. Its priority is to lend capital to governments of developing
countries to promote economic growth through financing of large
infrastructure projects, economic reform packages, and technical
assistance. It thus has vested interests in a number of developing
countries worldwide. Loans are also aimed at encouraging private
sector development. Presently, the World Bank is composed of four
main branches: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
(IBRD), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), the
International Development Agency (IDA), and the International Financial
Society (IFS). Its headquarters are in Washington, D.C.
- World Trade Organization. The World Trade Organization
(WTO) was established on January 1, 1995 as a result of the Uruguay
Round negotiations (1986-94). The seat of the WTO is located in
Geneva, Switzerland. It performs various functions including administering
WTO trade agreement, organizing forums for trade negotiations, handling
trade disputes, monitoring national trade policies, providing technical
assistance and training for developing countries, and cooperate
with other international organizations.
- Yard. A system of auxiliary tracks used exclusively for
the classification of passenger or freight cars according to commodity
or destination; assembling of cars for train movement; storage of
cars; or repair of equipment.
- Yield Management (Transportation). The
process of managing the usage price of a transport asset, such
as the fare paid by users, in view of changes in the demand. The
goal of such an approach is to maximize profit in the context
where the transport supply is fixed. Commonly used in air