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30 Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation Learning from Recent U.S. Airport Designs Recent U.S. design experience at key rail projects can point the way towards the adoption of higher standards for transfer facilities for bus and van. The traveler inside the Newark airport terminals is offered real-time information screens that show the next departures from Newark airport rail station for both Amtrak and New Jersey Transit. The departure schedules of the two rail operators are displayed in chronological order on one screen, consistent with the needs of the traveler. Armed with this connecting mode information, the rail user can proceed upstairs to the Newark AirTrain people mover. All connections to the people mover are made within the interior spaces of the airport terminal. Accessing the AirTrain platform is simpler and quicker than getting to the major parking facilities. At the Newark airport rail station, the pedestrian paths are clear and the information about connecting services is abundant. For major transit investments in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, high-quality architectural solutions have been designed for the transferring public mode traveler. At the reconstructed Reagan Washington National Airport, the MetroRail station is located closer to the terminal than is the major parking garage facility; travelers walk through the rail station lobby to get to the parking garage. The public transportation terminals built by WMATA in Washington and BART in San Francisco can be used as case studies in the improvement of the condition of the arriving passenger connecting on pub- lic modes. In Washington, D.C., the walkway bridges are heated and air conditioned and brightly lit. In San Francisco, the arriving traveler on ground transportation at the new International Terminal disembarks from the BART train at the same level as the airport check-in function: no bridges, no ele- vators, and no escalators will impede traveler flow from the three-track station. The operation of both a Delta Air Lines and an AirTran Airways check-in facility at the MARTA station within the Atlanta landside terminal is another example of high-quality archi- tectural integration. That rail station is located immediately adjacent to the common baggage claim facility for the entire airport, allowing the seamless connection from baggage pick-up to the rail platform overhead. Standards for the Ground Transportation Transfer Experience The architectural treatment at recently constructed rail stations establishes that the transfer experience to public modes at an airport can be positive. The question is then raised about the quality of transfer to buses and vans. It is not a question that can be solved quickly, or with only one solution. In some airports, a shared Ground Transportation Center is the optimum solution, and in others it is not. Clearly, if there is a guiding public policy to encourage the use of higher occupancy modes, the level of amenity offered to the connecting public transportation traveler should be as good as or better than that offered to the traveler connecting onward by private mode. Some of the strategies required by a comprehensive public policy are best carried out by the public sector, and some of the strategies are best implemented by the private sector. In theory at least, it is immaterial whether the onward connecting service is operated by the public or private sector; the public mode traveler should experience the same level of architectural amenity in the transfer act as comparable portions of the airport. At several large airports, bus and van passengers often board their vehicles at parking lots, dead end locations, outer curbs and other facilities with no traveler support services. Designs to Integrate Bus Systems into Airports Baltimore/Washington International Airport has adopted a managed strategy for authorized van service, with specific companies authorized for specific geographic areas. In design terms, this strategy makes possible the creation of a single departure point for all door-to-door services, located inside the airport terminal at the center of the terminal complex. The multiparty groups are formed inside this area with all waiting occurring inside with access to information.