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Air transport research covers passenger and freight movements by heavier-than-air and lighter-than-air vehicles. Principal means of air transport are fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, tilt-rotors, and airships. The focus is on commercial aviation by domestic and international airlines relying on dedicated airport infrastructure and air traffic management systems for regional, European and global transport. Air transport includes the ground services related to these operations.
Research on rail transport refers to all land-bound passenger and freight transport on dual and single fixed rail. This includes heavy rail, light rail, tram, metro, funicular, and monorail. Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) systems (which may or may not have conventional rails) and MAGLEV systems, where the track is not strictly a ‘rail’, are included under innovative technologies (see above).
Road transport covers all vehicles on motorways, roads, tracks and paths and the associated infrastructure (bridges, cuttings, tunnels, parking areas, footways). Research in this theme does not include ground transport in ports and airports that is directly associated with the functioning of air, maritime and inland waterway transport. Non-motorised modes, such as walking and cycling, are included because this form of transport largely shares the same infrastructure.
Research on urban transport refers to all passenger and freight transport within built-up areas, including journeys starting or ending in a conurbation. Most journeys are less than 15 kilometres. The main elements of urban transport are motorised private vehicles, public transport, non-motorised transport, service vehicles, and ‘last mile’ freight transport.
Water transport research covers maritime transport, short-sea shipping (SSS), inland navigation, estuarial shipping, and land operations that include cargo handling/ transfer between waterborne and other transport modes.
Research on multimodal transport covers both freight and passenger transport. With respect to freight transport, the theme incorporates the movement of freight in one loading unit or road vehicle, which uses successively two or more transport modes without goods handling during modal changes. Multimodal passenger transport covers the use of different modes in a door-to-door journey chain, with the focus on modal integration in a seamless journey.