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Getting Ground Access Information to the Traveler 183 each of the four terminals. Long loading times at start-up make this feature less usable than at the Portland International Airport website. For bus or van services, the data are organized by carrier: carrier name first, destination sec- ond. Thus, the user selects the name of the company and then learns where the company goes. There is no structuring of companies in the manner developed in Portland, which is organized by geography first. Passenger Information Provided by Other Agencies The navigation structure of Boston's airport website also follows a hierarchy by mode: after the user chooses public transportation, a hyperlink to the MBTA's home page is offered. From there, the user may or may not discover a well-presented page entitled "Take the T to Logan," which offers comprehensive routing advice by corridor of origin. The page is located in a more general category of how to ride the system. The home page offers origin-to-destination trip itinerary planning, which shows all MBTA services to Logan International Airport, but not those of the Logan Express bus service or the many private carriers that serve the airport directly (Figure 9-4). For example, a query on the MBTA trip planner for a trip from Logan International Airport to Natick does produce a com- bined bus plus commuter rail trip, but does not include the Logan Express, which is available to the general public. Ground Access Information on the New York JFK Airport Website Passenger Information Provided by the Airport Under the category "Ground Transportation," the user can choose between the categories "Car/Van Service," "Bus," or "Train." Information about van service is available for connections SOURCE: MBTA website. Figure 9-4. The MBTA Trip Planner will recommend a trip on local transit, but not on the Logan Express.
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184 Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation to other airports and then to five separate geographic areas. In practice, standard bus coach ser- vices are included in these listings. The ground transportation section of the website contains no specific reference to informa- tion about, or any hyperlinks to, the AirTrain, which is the backbone of many connections from JFK airport. For some reason, AirTrain is included as a tab on the initial airport home page, but not as a tab on the ground transportation page. Once found, the AirTrain section of the website is one of the best custom-designed informa- tion modules on any U.S. airport website. Presented in this section is an innovative feature called the "Trip Planner." Ten geographic areas are offered via a drop-down menu: for example, separate screens are produced for Midtown and for Downtown (Lower) Manhattan. Given that the "Trip Planner" is located on the AirTrain section of the website, only information about trips that utilize the AirTrain is presented. In the AirTrain section, the airport managers at JFK airport have taken a slightly different approach. Given that the transfer at Jamaica Station is not intuitively easy, once the general area of the trip destination has been specified by the user, text is provided that describes each aspect of the service and, more importantly, the processes of transfer and fare payment. The AirTrain section of the JFK airport website also offers what it refers to as a "virtual tour," a 360° view of the station at a point immediately in front of the turnstiles. It is not a simulation of a walking path as used on the Portland or Boston websites. Passenger Information Provided by Other Agencies After the user has selected either the bus or train mode in the Ground Transportation section, the JFK website says "click here for bus schedules" or "click here for train schedules," respectively. These hyperlinks take the user to the home page of Trips123. Trips123 is the major multimodal traveler information program for the three-state New York City metropolitan area, managed by TRANSCOM, the Transportation Operations Coordinating Committee. On the home page of the Trips123 system, a hyperlink to the transit trip planner is available. On the data input page of the transit trip planner, the origin "JFK" has not been filled in. However, the system accepted the input terms "JFK Airport" and "Herald Square" without seeking further clarifications. (The system defaulted to the assumption that the trip commenced at JFK Terminal One.) Maps were offered by the Trips123 system that did not include the exis- tence of the AirTrain on airport property or the existence of the AirTrain at its point of transfer at Jamaica Station. A sample trip from JFK airport to Grand Central Station was routed by a local bus to a trans- fer in a residential neighborhood to a second public transportation bus to Madison Avenue near Grand Central Station, with a travel time of more than an hour. Clearly, the direct non-stop airporter coach bus from JFK airport to Grand Central Station was not included in the Trips123 inventory of public transportation services. The regional trip itinerary planner, Trips123, is able to provide real-time information about the location of both construction and incidents on the highway system. Figure 9-5 shows a recent screen capture in which two traffic incidents and one construction site were reported on the Van Wyck Expressway (I-678) in the general area of JFK airport. In early 2007, Trips123 is expecting to offer real-time travel times on the roadway system, which could be a key input consideration for those choosing between transit and automobile ground access modes to the airport.