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Since the beginning of the railroad until the second half of the twentieth century, this mode of transport played an important role in the transport of goods. But, in an environment of increasing mobility of goods, rail’s share has declined steadily in each of the countries of the European Union: for example, in France the market share of rail has decreased from 32.3% in 1984 to 20.6% in 2000.

Transport could collapse in Europe if road transport continues to grow at the actual rate. The 2001 EU White Paper projected that costs related to congestion would increase until representing about 1% of the EU GDP by 2010. Nowadays it is completely necessary to redistribute the modal split towards transport modes which are more efficient.

Both the need to optimize the transport of goods within the EU and the need to reduce environmental costs arising from transport operations require a reinvention of freight rail transport, from the infrastructure design to a new integrated model for its maintenance and operation. The redistribution of market share towards the railway reduces congestion on the highway network, reduces accidents and improves energy efficiency and environmental protection.

It is essential that the rail uses its strengths (transporting large volumes of goods through long distances) combining them with other modes of transport to offer a competitive global service.

In this context, the application of our main objective Building Information Modelling (BIM) in the design of rail intermodal terminals will allow:

  • a better design for operation purposes
  • an easier and faster analysis of alternative layouts
  • integrating interoperability criteria
  • simulating and evaluating its operation performance
  • a quick estimation of construction and maintenance costs for different alternatives
  • Integrating the terminal into the environment (environmental impact, availability, etc.)

For global logistics companies, the design of global networks and the orchestration of competitive partners will increasingly replace immediate service provision based on owned assets. Intermodality and multimodality will become more and more important.

The freight transport within the EU requires intermodal solutions and its success lies in a proper design of the intermodal terminals. INTERMODEL PROJECT will Create an 8-dimensional BIM design that includes:

  • geometrical
  • structural
  • geotechnical
  • cost of construction
  • planning of construction
  • cost of maintenance
  • efficiency of maintenance
  • efficiency of operation

The results of INTERMODEL will provide:

  • significant innovations in the design of intermodal hubs
  • development of intermodal transport networks
  • benefits which will be created during the time of the project

The ambition of INTERMODEL is to develop the European Freight Railway of the future with an improved quality of service and boost the transshipment operations between rail and other transport modes as well as to test out of the box thinking solutions. It will contribute to prove the proposed ad hoc BIM Technology as the clue for key aspects associated to Logistics Infrastructure EU Strategy.