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CHAPTER 2 The Context for Public Transportation to Major Airports This chapter presents the context within which the airport manager must form policies towards airport ground access and summarizes the reasons for a policy interest in the subject in the United States. It reviews the present state of the airline system including a review of varia- tions in air traffic over the period before and after the events of September 11, 2001. The chap- ter reviews the extent to which concern about the quality of airport ground access has become an integral part of the process of environmental and political approval of airport expansion and efficient utilization of key national assets. Over the past decade, the way people use the aviation system has changed considerably. In the past, major airlines (now called "legacy carriers") actively competed with one another in terms of amenities that were offered to attract the user. An almost unstated assumption was that each major national carrier would provide service from any point to any point using some combination of large trunk routes between hubs and smaller commuter airplanes to get to those hubs. Since the publication of TCRP Report 62 (2000) and TCRP Report 83 (2002), much of that has changed. Some major airlines have taken the approach that they will fly between airports that are cost effective at each end of the trip. The net result is that the airport ground access trip length is becoming longer and the difficulty of capturing those trips in high-occupancy vehicles such as trains, buses, and vans is getting greater. This chapter reviews what is known about the changes that have occurred in the field over the past decade. Increasingly, transportation managers in the United States are dealing with close inter- relationships between modal services that have historically been seen, and managed, as separate entities. The scale of trip generation at major airports is of concern to the regional transportation and environmental manager; the airport manager finds that strategies for higher occupancy ground access solutions have become an accepted pre-condition to the expansion and better utilization of the airport assets. Across the country, MPOs are becom- ing involved in problem solving for the difficult issue of public mode airport ground access. To begin this review of the policy interest behind improving airport ground access, it is important to establish a sense of scale for the amount of travel to airports and to other points of intermodal transfer in the United States. Understanding the Scale of Airport Ground Access TCRP Report 62 presented an analysis of the U.S. airports and their orientation to public trans- portation ground access modes, based largely on data collected by the FAA and the Airports Council International (ACI)North America in the year 1998. In addition, a survey undertaken for TCRP Report 62 drew responses from 33 airports, each of which provided a summary of the 34