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Applying Market Research to Airport Ground Access 145 100% Percent of Land Area 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% SFO DCA LGA JFK BOS LAX IAD SEA DIA TPA EWR BWI PDX < 5 trip ends/sq. mi. 5 or more trip ends/sq. mi. SOURCE: TCRP Report 83, MarketSense. NOTE: SFO = San Francisco; DCA = Reagan National, Washington D.C.; LGA = LaGuardia, NY; JFK = John F. Kennedy, NY; BOS = Boston; LAX = Los Angeles; IAD = Dulles, Washington D.C.; SEA = Seattle-Tacoma; DIA = Denver; TPA = Tampa; EWR = Newark; BWI = Baltimore/ Washington; and PDX = Portland, Oregon. Figure 6-3. Land area of ground access market areas for 13 large U.S. airports. The Importance of Primary Ground Transportation Markets The previous section highlighted the significance of geographic areas where trip-end densities equal or exceed five trip ends per square mile. This area can be described as the primary market. Borrowed from the field of marketing geography, a primary market is defined as the area asso- ciated with at least 60% of all customers, in this case, air travelers using ground transportation. It is important to the success of any ground access service to understand where the majority of potential customers are located, that is, the area that contains the highest concentration of travelers. The share of air travelers using a particular access mode from a given area will vary depending upon a number of factors, one of which is the origin location of their access trip to the airport. Identifying the primary market for an entire airport is the first step in defining the markets for various public transportation modes. Applying the definition of primary market to trip-end densities, analysis shows that the pri- mary markets for the airports studied have average densities of five trip ends per square mile or higher. As shown in Table 6-5, primary markets account for 59% to 87% of all trip ends and 2% to 17% of the land area associated with the ground transportation service area of an airport. For the majority of airports, the land area in their primary market is between 500 and 950 square miles, the exceptions being Newark (1,429 square miles) and Los Angeles (1,551 square miles). Table 6-5 summarizes the characteristics of the primary ground transportation markets for 13 airports. The concept of a primary market area is important for understanding the service and operat- ing environment of an airport's ground transportation network. It is also an important concept to keep in mind when evaluating the role of an individual ground transportation service. The primary market provides a framework for assessing operations and the potential demand for a new service and comparing market characteristics of a new service to those characteristics that support existing services. The following analysis looks at the use of shared-ride transportation at several major airports. A similar analysis can be conducted with other access modes. The Geography of Public Ground Transportation to Airports Multiple forms of ground transportation are required to meet the needs of the many travel- ers using today's airports. Planning new or improved public transportation services requires an
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146 Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation Table 6-5. Primary ground transportation markets. Land Percentage of Percentage area total ground Number of air of total air (square transportation traveler traveler 1999 population Airport miles) market area trip ends trip ends estimate (000's) New York LaGuardia 744 10% 19,850 84% 9,200 New York JFK 622 6% 18,200 76% 9,500 San Francisco 760 7% 26,200 83% 3,900 Boston 944 11% 20,400 78% 2,950 Newark 1,429 13% 21,500 75% 8,300 Seattle 637 3% 12,100 72% 2,500 Denver 886 7% 20,500 69% 1,750 Los Angeles 1,551 17% 34,000 87% 10,100 Tampa 484 9% 9,325 77% 1,300 Portland (Oregon) 425 2% 5,765 60% 1,300 Reagan National 484 7% 15,500 82% NA Washington Dulles 515 7% 11,010 77% NA Baltimore/Washington 599 8% 8,490 59% NA SOURCE: TCRP Report 63, MarketSense. understanding of the geographic markets supportive of the particular modes under considera- tion. Summarizing the geographic patterns of public transportation use at large airports is a way of identifying these characteristics. Most discussions of airport ground transportation focus on the mode share for general cate- gories of ground transportation available at an airport. While general mode share is a valid meas- ure of how well ground transportation is serving an airport's entire ground access market, it is not a good measure of the market potential for an individual service. The assessment of mode share must be linked to a realistic description of a service's market area in order to develop mar- ket profiles that are comparable between airports. Focusing instead on the primary market--the area where at least 60% of all ground transportation trips to an airport are generated--indicates that primary ground transportation markets for large airports circumscribe a geographic area where trip activity is five or more air traveler trip ends per square mile. Research conducted about market conditions supportive of three basic categories of public ground transportation (traditional fixed-route services, shared door-to-door services, and express bus service from a regional collection point) provides empirical observations about air- port ground transportation markets and how air traveler trip ends are distributed within those markets. Traditional Fixed-Route Services Existing traditional rail services that can be considered successful (mode shares of 15% or greater in their primary market) are located in urban areas with high trip-end densities. Primary markets for the two successful services presented in this research--Washington, D.C.'s Metro- Rail and Boston's MBTA subway services--average 125 to 150 trip ends per square mile in an area encompassing 60 to 100 square miles.