Antecedents, mechanisms and effects of synchromodal freight transport: a conceptual framework from a systematic literature review

Sarah Pfoser, Herbert Kotzab, Ilja Bäumler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The aim of this paper is to offer an overview of the current state of research in a specific field of transport, namely synchromodality. This includes a conceptual discussion of this innovative transport concept to differentiate it from previous concepts as well as the identification of the antecedents, mechanisms and effects of synchromodality. Design/methodology/approach: The paper combines systematic and content analysis-based approaches to literature review to analyse and synthesise a final sample of 88 publications related to synchromodality. Findings: Synchromodality is a transport concept in its infancy which suffers from ambiguous definitions and a lack of theoretical grounding. The paper identifies four mechanisms which differentiate synchromodality from other transport concepts: real-time switching, integrated network planning, horizontal collaboration and mode-free booking. Seven technical and six managerial antecedents for these mechanisms of synchromodality are defined. Research limitations/implications: Existing research on synchromodality is largely focused on technical antecedents (e.g. information and communication technology, sophisticated planning systems). Suggestions for further research include managerial problems such as business models or measures to induce a mental shift and trust. Originality/value: This paper gives a structured overview of the research field of synchromodality and presents existing research from a content-focused perspective. It also indicates opportunities for future research and contributes to a generally accepted understanding of synchromodality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-213
Number of pages24
JournalThe International Journal of Logistics Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • Intermodal transport
  • Modal shift
  • Multimodal transport
  • Sustainable freight transport
  • Synchromodality


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