Modal Choice Preferences in Inland Container Transport in Poland
Purpose: As part of this paper, three research goals were set. The first one concerns the identification of factors influencing the modal choice to carry intermodal transport units by inland transport. The second goal is related to determining what conditions would have to exist for a given operator to agree to shift the cargo from road to rail transport as part of the modal shift concept. The third goal is to specify the influence of COVID-19 on the modal choice. Design/Methodology/Approach: Earlier studies have confirmed the difficulty in determining modal choice preferences due to their complexity. The complexity of the problem makes the use of quantitative methods ineffective. On the basis of the qualitative research conducted with the use of the in-depth semi structured interview, the authors identified the factors influencing the modal choice, at the same time defining the conditions that would have to be met in order to encourage cargo operators to make greater use of rail transport. Findings: The conducted research study indicated differences in the factors determining the choice of transport modes, mainly depending on the size of the surveyed company. The above-mentioned factors in relation to the entire study group included the time and cost of transport, as well as the availability and quality of transport infrastructure. The surveyed enterprises agreed that the factors that would have to occur to increase the use of rail transport included: increasing the number of reloading points at railway connections and increasing the timeliness of transport. Practical Implications: The results of the research can be used by decision-makers in formulating the directions of development of the transport system, and the entities responsible for the implementation of specific transport infrastructure investments, covering both linear and nodal elements. Originality/Value: The added value of this article is predicated on original research related to the determination of the premises for the selection of the transport mode in freight container transport in Poland. Requirements that could be a stimulus for implementing the modal shift idea in Polish companies. The authors confronted the research results achieved with the current scientific knowledge in this area, in addition, they also raised the topic of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on modal choice.