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32 Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation portation services offered and to facilitate the purchase of these services. Fortunately, the technology to improve the quality of information sent to the traveler is being developed and implemented at a rapid pace. Building a Ground Transportation Information Strategy The traveler needs to be aware that public transportation options exist. Airport websites should include some form of automated trip planning for ground trips to and from the airport. For each city and town of destination, an airport information system should describe the services available, based on the actual schedules of each component segment of the trip for that particular hour of that particular day. These systems can now tie directly into the reservations systems of the ground transportation operators. A website managed, or at least approved, by the local airport should include automated itin- erary trip planning encompassing all public modes available to and from the airport, including public modes traditionally used in the public transportation system and public modes available only for airport services. Such a program would logically include estimated taxi fares and travel times, accurate by time of day. No currently available regional trip planning program includes a full description of all vans, limousines, and buses approved for airport use. Only the 2007 trip planning system in Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport integrates both airport-specific and regional services on one screen. The BWI Ground Access Information Module currently under beta test- ing will also provide these integrated information services. Until automated services are ubiquitously and easily available at airports, printed material from simple brochures to elaborate ground transportation guides will continue to be the back- bone of traveler information strategies at airports. Good examples of such materials can be found at Baltimore/Washington International Airport and many other U.S. airports. Best Practices: Traveler Information While the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport operates the only website that fully integrates airport- specific modes and general regional services, other more limited examples of best practice can be noted: · The Transport Direct website in the United Kingdom describes all public transportation ground access options (and private automobile) from all airports in the UK to all destinations in the UK. · The 511.org website provides all general public transportation services by combinations of carriers in the San Francisco Bay Area. · The Trips123 website provides all general public transportation services from all New York City airports to all areas in the tri-state region. · The real-time Amtrak and New Jersey Transit train departure screens in key locations at Newark airport are a good example of the kind of traveler information that has to be devel- oped in the United States. Real-time airline departure information is presented within the train station mezzanine level. Conclusion A major theme that emerges from Chapters 1 and 2 is the need for some party to take leader- ship, and very often that happens at the level of the airport management. The professional ground access staffs at leading airports such as San Francisco and Baltimore/Washington take a proactive role in examining the extent of coverage and providing incentives (such as the grant-
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Six Steps in a Market-Based Strategy for Improving Airport Ground Access 33 ing of exclusive rights to serve a given area). In each of these cases, it is understood that there are costs associated with the establishment of high-quality services; these costs are often associated with the continued subsidy of these services. In nearly all of the best practices, such as the ter- minal changes at Reagan Washington National Airport or the early development of the Logan Express, there have been financial costs to bear. There is no working assumption that the solu- tion(s) to these problems will occur without significant costs.