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Attributes of Successful Ground Access Systems 65 Desired Attributes of Rail Service to U.S. Airports The two previous TCRP studies reviewed a wide variety of factors associated with the success or lack of success of airport rail services around the world. The following key factors have been shown to affect the use of rail service: Proportion of air travelers with trip ends in downtown or the transit-rich core areas. For example, at Reagan Washington National airport about 33% of all air travelers have trip ends in the downtown area. Other airports where large proportions of travelers have downtown trip ends include those serving Boston, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. At most air- ports, fewer than 15% of all travelers have trip ends in the downtown area. Thus, in most com- munities, the geographic service area directly served by a downtown rail service represents a relatively small percentage of the total air traveler market. Characteristics of air traveler market. Air travelers with few or no checked bags are more likely to use rail service. Large family groups are less likely to use rail. Thus, airports serving a high proportion of business trips (e.g., Atlanta and Reagan Washington National airports where more than 40% of the travelers are making business-related trips) are more likely to attract rail users than those serving tourist destinations (e.g., Las Vegas and Orlando where less than 30% of the travelers are making business-related trips). The proportion of passen- gers familiar with regional transit systems (i.e., who understand the schedules and how to purchase a ticket) is also important. Regional travel time. The availability of direct service between the airport and downtown (or major activity centers) allowing travelers to avoid transfers or multiple stops is important. Travelers going between the airport and downtown encounter 6 to 9 station stops at Reagan Washington National airport versus 15 or more stops on less successful rail systems. As evi- denced by the data, travelers tend to use rail service when they are concerned about (1) unre- liable travel times on access roadways or encountering traffic delays en route to the airport and (2) the lack of convenient parking at the airport and the need to search for an available space. Ability to walk between station and destination. Air travelers may find using rail service more attractive if their final destination is within walking distance of the station, and less attractive (and less convenient) if they must transfer to a second mode (e.g., a bus or taxicab) to travel to/from the station. The need for travelers using rail service to wait for and transfer to a sec- ond mode may provide a travel time advantage for door-to-door services. Extent of regional coverage. A comprehensive rail network, serving a large catchment area, will serve a larger potential market and provide travelers with more travel opportunities (e.g., those who may wish to leave from their place of work and return to their home) than does a rail system consisting of a single line between downtown and the airport. On-airport travel time. The time (and distance) airline passengers are required to travel between the station and their gate is also important. Convenient rail service is easier to provide at airports that have a single terminal (e.g., Atlanta or Chicago Midway airports) than those that have multiple terminal buildings (e.g., New York JFK, Boston, or Paris de Gaulle airports) where travelers must use intermediate shuttle buses or people movers to get to the rail station. Frequency of service. Waiting times of 10 minutes or less are preferred. The rail service at one U.S. airport operates on 30-minute headways, while a taxi ride downtown at the same airport requires a wait of only 15 to 30 minutes. The availability of late-night and weekend service is also important. Desired Attributes of Van and Bus Service to U.S. Airports The TCRP studies documented that air travelers represent a unique market that differs from traditional daily commuters. Compared to daily commuters, air travelers are typically more time sensitive and less cost sensitive, have more baggage, use the transit system less often, and are more

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66 Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation likely to use the system outside of normal commute hours. Often designing a special bus or van service to respond to this market is easier than trying to adapt a commuter-oriented, multistop bus (or rail) service to meet the needs of both daily commuters and air travelers. Door-to-door van and express bus services are examples of airport access modes that respond to the desire of air travelers for greater convenience and faster travel times than are typically offered by multi- stop bus services. Many operators of rail service prefer not to have airport-dedicated vehicles (e.g., with special baggage racks), because these special vehicles reduce their flexibility in the use of equipment. In the United States, specialized services have been developed to respond to specific markets not well served by traditional transit services. These services include the express bus services operated at the airports serving Boston (Logan Express), Denver (employee-oriented SkyRide), Los Angeles (Van Nuys FlyAway), and San Francisco (Marin Airporter). None of these services rely upon the general-purpose transit configuration of the metropolitan area. In each case, the specific needs of the target market segment were defined and provided for. In general, each of the transit services was able to attract about 20% market share in its immediate service area. Market conditions improved for the Logan Express's Braintree service when both a new express bus lane and a new tunnel serving the airport were opened. Braintree Logan Express's average daily ridership increased 50% as a result of the new radial bus lane, the commercial-vehicle-only tunnel, coordinated HOV policy, and other factors. As with rail systems, numerous studies have documented the requirements for a successful bus and van transportation service. At an airport, the following key factors affect the use of bus and van services: Door-to-door transportation. Many air travelers are willing to pay additional fares for the con- venience offered by door-to-door services because they value travel time (particularly reliable travel time) more highly than travel costs. Such services also allow travelers to avoid transferring between airport access modes. Express bus service. Express bus services, particularly those that offer travel time savings and service from intercept lots near regional access roads, have proven attractive to specific air traveler market segments. On-airport travel time. The time (and distance) airline passengers are required to travel between the terminal and the boarding area is an important consideration. As with rail systems, an airport with a single terminal building allows better levels of service (i.e., fewer stops and faster travel time) than does an airport with multiple terminals or bus stops. Pick-up/drop-off locations. To best serve the needs of travelers, drop-off locations should be located immediately adjacent to ticket counters and pick-up should occur next to baggage claim areas, preferably in areas reserved for buses, vans, and other commercial vehicles. Frequency of service. The availability of off-peak, late-night, and weekend service is also important as many airline passengers travel during non-commuter hours (e.g., the peak hours at many airports are 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekdays). Regional travel time. The availability of HOV lanes on airport access routes can allow bus and van services to offer a travel time savings compared to private vehicles. The ability to stop at major activity centers, thereby allowing the traveler to avoid the need to use a second, connect- ing travel mode at the non-airport end of the trip, is an advantage. Form of competition. The measures used to control competition between bus, van, and other rubber-tired services (e.g., taxis and limousines) are important. In an open market, a legiti- mate operator offering high-quality service will find it difficult to compete financially with an operator who (1) uses vehicles that are improperly maintained and lack proper insurance and (2) uses owner-operator drivers who lack proper training and are encouraged or required to improperly solicit business.