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CHAPTER 3 Attributes of Successful Ground Access Systems What makes a public transportation access system to a major airport successful? The breadth of travel patterns to specific airports (detailed in Chapter 4) shows the wide variety of experience around the world in the design and implementation of public transportation strategies to major airports. Those patterns range from the remarkable public transportation share in Oslo to the specialized role played by public transportation to most U.S. airports. This chapter interprets best practice and attempts to draw out lessons learned from this wide variety of experience. This chapter will examine the implications of certain attributes of successful services, whether those services are in operation in the United States, Europe, or Asia. One lesson is clear at the outset--no particular modal solution is optimal everywhere: a simple focus on line-haul speed of the vehicle does not produce a high mode share to public transportation, as revealed in Shanghai; the adoption of high-cost, high-quality rail design does not convince more Hong Kong travelers to ride the train rather than the bus; direct on-airport rail connections to an advanced regional rail system do not attract more travelers to choose the rail transit to the San Francisco International Airport than the less direct connections in operation at nearby Oakland Interna- tional Airport. It is a central theme of this report that the services offered must be based on an analysis of the needs of the traveler, not the adoption of one particular mode (usually rail) as the "world class" standard. However, most of the highest mode shares to transit reported in this study do come from European and Asian systems that use rail services as a major and dominant strategic com- ponent. This chapter seeks to look at service attributes attained in successful systems without regard to the dominant mode that resulted in those high mode shares to public transportation. After this examination of service attributes, Chapter 5 will explore the question of the integra- tion of ground access services into larger national systems, and the role of integration of baggage and ticketing systems. Then, Chapter 6 will present a discussion of the application of market research techniques to a planning process based on the needs of the traveler, including of the roles of geographic and demographic market segmentation. Understanding Successful Airport Ground Access Systems This section will focus on the attributes associated with the success of the rail projects that form the principal mode of most of the successful systems to be detailed on an airport-by-airport basis in Chapter 4. It will quickly become clear that no single attribute--such as the speed of the vehicle, the directness of the on-airport connections, or the connectivity to the rest of the pub- lic transportation system--can by itself explain the propensity for high market shares. Rather, it 52