Jean-Paul Rodrigue (2017), New York:
Routledge, 440 pages.
Transport Geography Glossary
Compiled by Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue. Many of the glossary
terms are adapted from:
- Absolute advantage. A trade theory
underlining the ability of an actor (an individual, or firm,
or country) to produce a greater quantity of a good, product,
or service than competitors, using the same amount of resources.
- Access. The capacity to enter and exit a transport
system. It is an absolute term implying that a location
has access or does not.
- 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 landing areas.
- 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
- Air carrier. Commercial system of air transportation,
consisting of domestic and international scheduled and charter
- 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 services are limited to the use of predetermined
- Air transportation. Includes companies that provide
domestic and international passenger and freight services,
and companies that operate airports and provide terminal
- 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
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
- 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
- Average Vehicle Occupancy (AVO). The number of
people traveling by private passenger vehicles divided by
the number of vehicles used.
- 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.
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 commodity chains.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- Big data. Data sets that are so large or complex that
traditional data processing applications are inadequate.
They offer new opportunities for the analysis, capture, search, sharing, storage, transfer, visualization
and querying of information related to transportation,
such as the tracking of individuals, vehicles, items or
- 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 for goods.
- Block. A group of railcars destined to the same
- 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
- 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 the vehicle.
- 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
- 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
- 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 (car sharing). 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
- 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 dollars.
- 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 provided.
- 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
- 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).
- 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 service.
- 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 buses.
- 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 rail.".
- 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 involves 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 containers.
- 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 trailers.
- 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
- 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 constant dollars.
- Cycle time. The amount of time required
from the receipt of an order to when this order is completed
(assembled) and ready for delivery. Often labeled as the
completion rate and is mostly linked with the function of
production in the manufacturing sector; its level of responsiveness.
- 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 (dwt). 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 "Dial-a-Ride".
- 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
- 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 strategy.
- 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
- 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 increasing output.
- 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 per ton-mile.
- 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 28 European states (as of 2016). Its core institutions are known as
the «institutional triangle» composed of the European Parliament
(Strasbourg), the Commission (Brussels), and the EU Council
(Brussels). The European Bank
which manages the common currency (euro) that several EU
countries are using.
- 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
- 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 given time.
- 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
- 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 of convenience. A mean by
which ship owners can obtain lower registration fees,
lower operating costs and fewer restrictions by
registering their ships to a third country.
- 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 expertise.
- 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
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 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 domestic
- 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
- 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
- Headway. Time interval between vehicles moving
in the same direction on a particular route.
- Heavy rail. An electric railway of high capacity and characterized
by exclusive rights-of-way, multi-car trains, high speed
and rapid acceleration, sophisticated signaling, and high
- High-Occupancy-Vehicle Lane (HOV). A 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.
- Information and Communications Technologies
(ICT). Goods and services related to the
production, storage, analysis and transmission of
information in a digital format using a wide range of
devices such as computers and smartphones.
- Inflation. Increase in the amount of currency
in relation to the availability of assets, commodities,
goods and services. Commonly the outcome of an indirect
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
- 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
- Integrated carriers. Carriers that have both
air and ground fleets; or other combinations, such as sea,
rail, and truck. Since they usually handle large volumes, they are less expensive and offer
more diverse services than regular carriers.
- 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
- 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, Switzerland.
- 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 Region.
- 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. 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
- 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
- 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
- Lading. Refers to the freight shipped; the contents
of a shipment.
- 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 (e.g. fueling, crew rotation).
- Lead time. The time it takes for an
order to be fulfilled, which includes preparation, packing
and delivery to a designed location. Often labeled as the
arrival rate and is mostly linked with the function of distribution,
mainly its efficiency and reliability; its level of responsiveness.
- Less than Truckload (LTL). A shipment that would
not by itself fill the truck to capacity by weight or volume.
- Letter of credit. A document issued
by a financial institution that provides a promise of
payment for a trade transaction, implying that it can be
redeemed if certain conditions are satisfied. They are
mainly used in international trade for transactions
between actors, such as a buyer and a seller, in
- 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 to containerization.
- Line haul costs. Costs that vary with distance
shipped, i.e., costs of moving goods and people once they
are loaded on the vehicles.
- 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.
- Location-allocation models. A family
of models used to optimize the location of a series of facilities
such as manufacturing facilities, distribution centers or
any other market servicing activities. The goal is to optimally
service a set of locations expressing demand, often with
the purpose of minimizing transport costs.
- Logistics. A wide set of activities dedicated
to the transformation and distribution of goods, from raw
material sourcing to final market distribution as well as
the related information flows. Derived from Greek logistikos
(responsible for counting), the word is polysemic. In the Nineteenth
century the military referred to it as the art of combining
all means of transport, revictualling and sheltering of
troops. In a contemporary setting, it refers to the set
of operations required for goods to be made available on
markets or to specific locations.
- Logistic zone. Grouping of activities dealing
with freight distribution such as distribution centers (warehousing,
storage, light transformations), transportation (freight
forwarders, shippers, transport operators, customs brokers)
and supporting services (human resources, maintenance and
repair) within a defined and often planned 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 in 1964. The core assumption
is that regional and urban growth (or decline) is a function
of the expansion (or contraction) of the basic sector. This
employment is in turn having impacts on the employment of
the retail and residential sectors.
- Maglev - Magnetic levitation. Technology enabling
trains to move at high speed above a guideway on a cushion
generated by magnetic force.
- Manifest. A list of the goods being transported
by a carrier.
- 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 route. Corridor 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- MERCOSUR. A trade alliance between Argentina,
Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, with Chile and Bolivia as
- Methanol. An alternative fuel; a liquid alcohol
fuel with vapor heavier than air; primarily produced from
- Microbridge. A cargo movement in which the water
carrier provides a through service between an inland point
and the port of load/discharge.
- 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 the reverse.
- Mobility. Refers to a movement of people or freight.
It can have different levels linked to the speed, capacity
and efficiency of movements.
- 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
- 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
- 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 guideway systems.
- 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
- 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 sea corridors.
- 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. 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.
- New Panamax. The ship class able to
fit into the locks of the expanded Panama Canal. It is defined
by the new lock dimensions of 427 meters in length,
55 meters in beam (width), and 18.3 meters in
depth. This represents a capacity of about 12,500 TEU or
- 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
- 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 required resources.
- 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 corporation.
- 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
- 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
- Pandemic. An epidemic of infectious disease that
spreads through human populations across a large area, even
- 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 meters, maximum beam overall 32.25
meters, maximum draught 13.50 meters.
- 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
- 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, etc.
- 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
- 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 made 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 (outsourcing) 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
- 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 terminals.
- Post Panamax. Refer to ship classes
that are higher than the standard size of the Panama Canal
locks (Panamax) before its expansion.
- 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 transportation.
- 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.
- Rail, Heavy. A high capacity electric railway 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
- 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 right-of-way.
- 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 or vanpooling.
- 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 of drayage.
- 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.
- 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 installation
(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 centers, etc.
- 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. 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
- 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, 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
- 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 as piggyback.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Unit load device. A container that
has been specifically designed to fit the cargo storage
area of an airplane.
- 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 customers.
- 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 to cities.
- 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
- 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
- Warehouse. A place for the reception, delivery,
consolidation, distribution, and storage of freight. Designed
to store goods for longer periods of time.
- Waterway. River, canal, lake or other stretch
of water that by natural or man-made features is suitable
- 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
- 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.
- Weight, Tare. The
weight of the packaging or container.
- Weight, Ton: Metric measure equals 1000 Kilograms.
A short ton is 2000 pounds and 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 transportation.