There is growing recognition that multi-modal travel information and booking systems benefit transportation providers and their passengers. This may take the form of a multi-modal trip planner that helps passengers and providers more efficiently utilize available resources. This can help to solve a costly last-mile problem.
There’s a last mile to consider for air travel. Air travelers often end up renting cars even though local transit options are available. Some airlines make an effort to make transit information more available to their customers. I am a frequent Alaska/Horizon Airlines traveler. On the airline’s ticket and itinerary pages, local transit information is included for some destinations (I am thinking particularly of the San Francisco Bay Area).
Continental Airlines has taken the ground and air interconnection a step further. Some Amtrak services are available as codeshare “flights” in Continental’s reservations system. Here’s more information from the Continental Airlines website:
Continental Airlines and Amtrak have teamed up to provide the ultimate in seamless travel. Through an air/rail codeshare, Amtrak will provide connecting service on Regional and Keystone trains from Philadelphia, PA; Wilmington, DE; Stamford, CT and New Haven, CT to Newark International Airport and then on to anywhere Continental Airlines flies.
Train passengers can earn Continental frequent flier reward miles for travel on Amtrak services. Airport lounge benefits also apply at the Amtrak station.
I envision future transportation systems and booking will transition from mode-specificity to allow passengers to choose the most appropriate and affordable options: air, intercity bus and rail, local transit, and car and bikeshare.