“This or That” is not the same as “This and That.”

The terms “multi-modal” and “Intermodal” are often used interchangeably in Mobility as a Service (MaaS) circles. While they do refer to similar things, at Mobi Systems we make a distinction between them because the differences are important to understand for those who are beginning to embrace MaaS.

When we use “multi-modal” we mean “this or that.” When we use “intermodal,” we mean “this and that.” Multi-modal presents options that have a single means of transportation; intermodal presents options that have multiple means of transportation.

This is an important distinction, because when someone is trying to get from Point A to Point B:

  • multi-modal solutions will give them options like, ”You can drive and it will take x minutes or you can bike and it will take y minutes,” while
  • intermodal solutions will give them options like, “You can drive to C, and park the car at D, and take the subway to B.”

Intermodal solutions are much harder to formulate because the number of possibilities and combinations can be considerable. But, the results are a lot more useful to someone who is trying to get somewhere, especially if traffic, the weather, and other factors are also inputs to the calculus.

At Mobi Systems, we love hard problems such as intermodal routing and planning. We love creating ways to carve through multi-dimensional solutions spaces quickly, to come up with methods that dig through and uncover answers too complicated for our brains to find on their own, and to make it all so simple that anyone can do it!

Whether you are looking for “this or that” or “this and that,” look to us. We’ll help you find it!

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