We thrive by mobility. Modes of movement, through networks in various scales: people, goods, and information, profoundly shaped contemporary cities, architecture, and the culture of human interaction. As globalism coincided with urbanization, mega-regions were made possible by intermodal transportation systems which link a series of metropolitan areas.
Intermodal Transportation. The movements of passengers or freight from an origin to a destination relying on several modes of transportation. Each carrier is issuing its own ticket (passengers) or contract (freight). The movements from one mode of transport to another is commonly taking place at a terminal specifically designed for such a purpose. Therefore, intermodal transportation in the literal sense refers to an exchange of passengers or freight between two transportation modes, but the term has become more commonly used for freight and container transportation across a sequence of modes. In North America, the term intermodal is also used to refer to containerized rail transportation.
By using complex multi-modal networks which involve the use of at least two different transportation modes, the forms of intermodal transport systems grow in capacity and advance in performance. These integrated networks enhance economic activity, but also provide an exciting opportunity for architecture to facilitate a critical element of connection between intermodal transport chains, articulation nodes.
An articulation node is a location that promotes the continuity of circulation in a transportation system by supporting transport chains and providing the added value that such flows require. It is an interface, a gateway, between different spatial systems (e.g. global market and regional economy) that includes terminal facilities, but also the numerous activities linked with these facilities. For passenger transport chains, this could involve hotels, parking lots, restoration, and access to local transportation. They tend to be simple in function.