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138 Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation non-business trips in a given time period, they are less likely to use a specific destination airport repeatedly. Air travelers in this segment are most likely to be staying at a hotel or a place of res- idence. Because they may be unfamiliar with their access options, they will use the most readily available, such as taxis or shared-ride, door-to-door vans. When staying with friends or relatives, they may be dropped off or picked up at the airport. Because of their unfamiliarity with the region, these ground access travelers are less likely to use public transportation unless their local hosts assure them that it is convenient and reliable. Airport Ground Access Market Research There are a variety of methods for collecting data about ground access travelers, including sur- veys, focus groups, panels, interactive research, and observation. Each method is useful in partic- ular situations and each has advantages and disadvantages. This discussion will concentrate on focus groups and surveys--both of which are commonly used in ground access market research. Airport-based surveys provide the best source of information about ground access patterns and the choices of air travelers and airport employees who travel to the airport. The general procedural steps in conducting either a passenger or employee survey are similar; however, the procedural steps are implemented in different ways. Before undertaking a market research study, the airport manager should develop a clear and unambiguous problem statement. The problem statement defines the purpose of the market research effort. For example, the following statement describes the basic information needed to begin a study of alternative modes of access: "What is the geographical distribution of this airport's ground access market and the current modes of access used by the various market segments?" Once the problem statement has been defined, there are five steps in developing a market research study: 1. Decide what information to collect. 2. Select a data collection method. 3. Determine the sampling frame and sampling method. 4. Develop the questionnaire. 5. Summarize and analyze the results. Airports generally solicit the help of consultants to plan and conduct a market research study. Before preparing the consultants' work plan, airport managers should review these steps to help ensure a successful research effort. Step 1: Decide What Information to Collect At this early stage of the research study, the kind of information the airport managers need for planning purposes must be determined. Accordingly, as many of the people and departments that will make use of the collected information should be involved as possible. It is also important to collect sufficient information to use in defining the market segments for a public transportation service but to not request such an overwhelming amount of information that the survey proves to be burdensome to the respondents. Tables 6-1 and 6-2 show the type of information generally collected from air travelers and airport employees to support ground access planning efforts. Airport ground access market research is primarily concerned with the access mode choice (i.e., travel to the airport) of air travelers. To date, far less attention has been given to questions about egress mode choice for the following reasons: Air travelers are primarily concerned with reaching the airport in time for their flights. They are less concerned with time when leaving the airport.