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46 Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation ground access flows to the major airports for the simple reason that the vast majority of airport ground access surveys are collected in the airline departure areas, for a variety of reasons of survey accuracy and reliability. The relationship between annual passenger activity figures and hourly flows of persons on public modes is illustrated in the following steps. "Typical" Public Mode Volumes for Large U.S. Airports A "typical" public mode volume for a large U.S. airport can be estimated from the available data. The steps to calculate an average daily ground access public mode volume are straight- forward. 1. From passengers to enplaning passengers. The scale of an airport is generally categorized in terms of total annual airport activity. For example, in 2005, Boston is usually described as an airport of roughly 26 MAP. For the analysis of ground access, it is more useful to examine movements in one direction: Boston could be just as well described as an airport of 13 million enplanements. 2. From total enplanements to originating passengers. The most important step in observing the overall scale of the ground access market is to subtract the airplane-to-airplane connect- ing movements from the total enplanements. When these movements are subtracted, Boston airport in 2005 can be observed to have 10.4 million originating passengers, making it the ninth largest ground access market in the United States. As such, it can be used as a "typical" larger airport in the top 20 U.S. airports. 3. From annual to daily originating passengers. By dividing Boston's 10.4 million originating passengers per year by 365, somewhat less than 29,000 airline passengers arrive at the airport on an "average" day. 4. From daily to hourly volume. Approximately 10% to 15% of the 24-hour passenger volume have been observed to arrive in a single peak hour, creating a peak-hour volume of between 2,900 and 4,200 airline passengers arriving by all ground access modes. 5. Peak-hour public transit volumes. In Boston, about 18% of arriving airline passengers arrive by some form of public transportation; thus, between 500 and 750 airline passengers arrive in the peak hour by rail, bus, and van combined. Public Mode Volumes for 27 U.S. Airports Table 2-5 presents the estimated scale of use of public mode ground transportation at selected U.S. airports. The steps taken to create the "typical" public mode volume into the airport can be applied to each U.S. airport for which the data are available. Thus, using the assumptions in this section, JFK airport is estimated to attract about 7,000 public mode ground access users per day. The airports in this group of transit-oriented airports vary widely: five U.S. airports attract 6,000 or more public mode users per day and eight airports attract less than 2,000 public mode users per day. Dealing with peaking characteristics at airports is difficult, because different airports have dif- ferent distributions of traffic over the day. A range of 10% to 15% of daily volume in the peak hour can be used as a default. From this assumption, total hourly volumes to U.S. airports are estimated to be far less than 1,000 passengers per hour by all public modes combined (with JFK as the possible exception, from Table 2-5). Implications for Choice of Ground Access Mode The scale of public transportation volumes to major airports must be examined with some caution. Clearly, the transit infrastructure must be able to accommodate volumes in the range
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The Context for Public Transportation to Major Airports 47 Table 2-5. Daily ground access volumes. Estimated daily inbound public Market mode volume share to Annual (air travelers public originating Airport only) modes passengers (a) New York JFK 7,000 19% 11,602,440 Los Angeles 6,900 13% 16,441,180 Las Vegas 6,300 12% 16,339,950 Atlanta 6,200 14% 13,696,770 Boston 6,000 18% 10,428,620 Chicago O'Hare 5,800 12% 14,923,320 San Francisco 5,600 23% 8,938,170 Orlando 4,900 11% 13,792,840 Newark 4,700 14% 10,375,220 Denver 4,400 14% 9,817,970 Reagan National 3,800 17% 7,003,410 Seattle 3,500 11% 9,898,290 Phoenix 3,300 9% 11,491,890 Baltimore/Washington 3,000 12% 7,637,130 New York LaGuardia 2,900 8% 11,291,970 Oakland 2,600 15% 6,273,490 San Diego 2,300 9% 7,833,280 Dallas/Fort Worth 2,100 6% 10,683,750 Philadelphia 2,100 7% 9,123,560 Tampa 1,800 7% 8,116,390 Portland 1,700 10% 5,373,750 Chicago Midway 1,700 9% 5,933,190 New Orleans 1,700 15% 3,472,780 Washington Dulles 1,700 8% 6,505,480 Indianapolis 1,000 9% 3,628,540 St. Louis 900 6% 4,845,770 Cleveland 700 6% 3,789,610 SOURCE: (a) U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Aviation Administration, Origin-Destination Survey of Airline Passenger Traffic, Domestic 2005. of 500 to 1,000 passengers per hour into an airport. However, capacity alone should never be the sole justification of rail investment; buses in many corridors in the United States regu- larly carry more people than they would need to carry to serve airline passengers at an entire airport. For example, through the Lincoln Tunnel in New York City, buses carry more than 40,000 persons per hour in the peak direction. There are many powerful reasons to select rail services to airports, based mainly on the existence of a grade separated right-of-way not sub- ject to the daily congestion plaguing such airports as JFK and O'Hare; but, in theory, the capacity constraints of rubber-tired services should not be used as a justification for such a selection. For most metropolitan areas, a comprehensive program to improve public mode airport ground access services, and to raise the overall vehicle occupancy levels, will require a variety of