Intermodal system is a transport system that incorporates all modes of transport, namely land, sea, and air, into one integrated structure so as to facilitate smooth movement of cargoes and passengers. Intermodal system has several advantages such as reduction of cost and time for transport as well as increased efficiency and effectiveness in movement of goods/services and passengers. An integrated transport system has huge benefits for economic performance of any country since no nation can develop with poor transport and communication infrastructure. However, to actualize an intermodal system, a systematic design process has to be put into operation. It should be understood that the following stages are involved in order to bring all stakeholders in a participatory action research (PAR). The process of engaging all affected or involved people in the development of an intermodal system is thus known as the intermodal system design process and it involves a lot of consensus building that is carried out during the stages explained below, (Konings 2008).
I. Problem Statement
In this stage, people involved come up with a proposed plan of an intermodal system. This stage is critical and it requires a lot of input from various experts in the transportation sector. Consultants are hired to provide an informed plan of the system so that its implementation would meet its expected strategic goals (Tax, 1989).
II. Constraint Statement
This step seeks to identify constraints that may hamper the design process. It is a very crucial stage since failure to identify constraints may jeopardize the whole process since proper prior planning will not be undertaken. It means that any unforeseen constraints will bring friction to the entire process (Luttekes, 2002).
III. Statement of the Conflict Management Objective
The aim of conflict management is to solidify the stakeholders involved by making them see that benefits of the entire intermodal system will trickle down to all of them so that they can fully support the system. Otherwise, there exist a lot of friction and politics that may hinder effective implementation of the whole idea. This step gives all of stakeholders a fair chance to voice their own opinion on the matter, (Rijsenbrij, 1996)
IV. Meeting Pattern Adoption
Apparently, such big process requires people in the implementation committee to meet on several occasions. These people should meet so that they can forward their expertise on various transportation fronts because different people have special capabilities in specific areas of the transportation sector. Members agree on frequency of such meetings and modalities, if any, involved in convening the meetings (Bos 2002).
V. Identifying the Steps Involved in the Process
In this stage, the emphasis is put on identifying the ways in which a conflict resolution program can be undertaken. The following steps are commonly employed:
1. The committee involved adopts a conflict resolution draft after making any alteration if necessary.
2. The committee is also given a chance to meet with experts and consultant so as to be up to date with design.
3. The committee members generate various options regarding the design so that everybody comes on board.
4. The final step involves establishing criteria for consensus such as a proportion of members who should support it for it to be binding.
VI. Determining the Participants Involved
This stage involves including a fair share of all stakeholders to be affected by the intermodal system in one way or another. It was stated earlier that it is essential to ensure that the project is suitable for all people. It is achieved by having representatives of all groups of stakeholders in the implementation committee.
VII. Examining Extraneous Issues
This step of the intermodal system design process involves looking at other issues that may affect performance of the implementation body. Especially, it regards meetings and such specific issues as timing of meetings and modes of conducting them since some members could be much involved in their mainstream careers (Rijsenbrij, 1979).
During this final stage, the outcome of the committee involved is forwarded to the authorities that are responsible for the full implementation of the project.
In conclusion, the intermodal system design process requires interest harmonization among all the parties involved. Furthermore, it also requires an effective lobbying and conflict resolution mechanism to be put in place so that it can be embraced by all stakeholders and their representatives (Konings 2008).