Forms of Modal Competition
Three major dimensions are of concern to depict the concept of modal
- Modal choice competition is the most basic consideration
in the modal competition process. On the above example, three modal
choice scenarios are considered for two modes.
The first two cases (1 and 2) are instances where only one mode
is used since it represents the most efficient (or the only available)
solution. This solution is derived by comparing the two available
modes and choosing the one that answers the best the requirements
of moving freight or passengers between locations A and B. Case
three represents another possible solution where the two modes are
used in a combination of two segments with a point of transfer. This alternative is the classic multimodal transport
solution which is increasingly been applied over transport systems.
It enables to use modes over the segments they are respectively
the most efficient.
- Infrastructure or route competition represents another
dimension where modal competition occurs over the usage of a specific
infrastructure or route. Three scenarios are generally possible.
In the first case (4), there is simply no competition as one mode
has a monopoly over a route, either because of technical
(a subway line for instance) or regulatory (car-only expressways)
reasons. The second case (5) represents an exclusive sharing
arrangement where two modes are using the same infrastructure,
but at different moments. The issue of rail passenger and freight
is a relevant example, as both may be using the same infrastructure
but not at the same time. A decision has thus to be made about which
mode gets priority. In North America, priority is given to rail
freight while in Europe priority is given to rail passengers. The
third case (6) illustrates a situation where two modes have a
mutual sharing arrangement. Access to infrastructure is generally
unconstrained but the total capacity is obviously the result of
respective levels of usage. Cars and trucks are commonly sharing
the same road infrastructure.
- Market area competition is the third dimension of modal
competition, which is highly tied to geographical considerations.
It mainly concerns transport terminals that are drawing users and
their associated flows, people and/or freight, from their surroundings.
In the above example, locations A and B have their own exclusive
market areas over which that have a clear
advantage. Competition occurs over a portion of the territory where
the respective advantages of locations A and B are not clear;
the competition margin. Technical improvements have increased
competition margins as terminals such as
ports are competing over
overlapping market areas that may span whole regions.