Keywords: transport nodes, railways, transport demand
The paper analyzes the functioning of intermodal nodes. It describes the complex organization of transport nodes following a functional approach, with particular attention to the role of infrastructures and to Italian railway system. Despite its long story, the railway system has not reached its full potential yet. In the past, we passed from a situation of lack in transport services (before the advent of railways), in which transport demand was oriented to local territory, to a new scenario in which there are limited resources to create transport demand (lack of railroad lines), a frenetic increase of transport demand (increasing of roads) and urgent environmental protection needs. The evolution of social context (the growth of cities and the increase of environmental sensitivity) will give an important contribution in order to make railways operating in a more efficient way.