Intermodal Transport

Intermodal transport or combined transport means the linking of different modes of transport (e.g. truck, rail and ship) within a transport chain. The aim is to integrate climate-friendly modes of transport, such as rail freight transport, into transport chains through sensible combinations and to offer an alternative to pure road freight transport. With the aim of shifting transports to cost-effective and green modals, such as rail or inland waterways, PTV is looking at the following topics:

  •     Intercontinental container transport (20" and 40" containers)
  •     Hinterland transport (20" and 40" containers)
  •     Continental transport (45" containers, semi-trailers and ferries)

"What is combined transport?" is described in this video:

PTV has professional and technical expertise in this topic, based on many years of experience from consulting and IT projects in the field of intermodal transport.

Our product portfolio supports you on this and many other topics.

Our focus

Intermodal data and data management 

PTV offers a comprehensive collection of intermodal data on terminals and networks. For the supply of timetables, various interfaces to relevant operators are integrated, as well as a web-based maintenance application to enable data management by an expert user. 

Software services for intermodal routing and optimisation 

Algorithms for routing and network optimisation of timetable-based services bundled in the PTV xIntermodal component. This prototype xServer extends the functionality of the standard component PTV xRoute by the function of routing in timetable-based networks. The combination of road routing and timetable-based components enables to consider classic road routes as well as intermodal alternatives and to compare them. Further functions of xIntermodal enable the planning and monetary optimization of entire transport networks at large. 


Research and modelling of intermodal transport options. Carrying out network analyses and target-performance comparisons. Presentation of the feasibility of modal shifting, taking into account monetary and ecological aspects. 


Research on current topics in the field of intermodal transport with a focus on digitalisation, procedures, integration into processes and application in pilot projects. 

Selected projects

The research contents in this field are manifold. Besides algorithmic development, the focus is on data supply via central platforms and the application in/and between logistic nodes and associated communities. These topics are currently being researched and implemented in the EU projects FENIX and Clusters 2.0.

FENIX develops the first European federal architecture for data exchange, which serves the European logistics community of freight forwarders, logistics service providers, mobility infrastructure providers, cities and public authorities to ensure interoperability between all individual existing and future platforms.

Clusters 2.0 is a Horizon 2020 project that exploits the potential of European logistics clusters for a sustainable, efficient and fully integrated transport system. It improves and promotes coordination between logistics actors within clusters and between European logistics clusters.

Further projects are: MODULUSHCABESTFACT.