Rail intermodal — transporting shipping containers and truck trailers on railroad flat cars — has been growing rapidly for many years. U.S. rail intermodal volume in 2015 was a record 13.7 million containers and trailers, falling only slightly to 13.5 million in 2016.
Today, intermodal is the largest single source of U.S. freight rail revenue. Intermodal represents a competitively priced, environmentally friendly alternative to excessive reliance on highways to transport freight. It has grown in large part because railroads have invested billions of dollars on new intermodal terminals, track upgrades, and other infrastructure projects that have made rail intermodal more reliable and cost-effective.