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12 CHAPTER 3 Air Taxi Forecast Introduction the domestic United States, and overall growth in travel trips is assumed to be proportional to population growth. As discussed To develop a fleet forecast for air taxi services involving in more detail below, income effects are treated as determinants next-generation small aircraft, the primary focus relies on the of travel mode choice rather than overall trip generation. view that the demand for aircraft will ultimately be derived Normally, one might expect that air taxi services offered on from the consumer demand for such services. This approach next-generation small aircraft would compete primarily with is quite different from the GA analysis of the previous chapter existing air taxi services--those offered by small piston, turbo- where the forecast depended importantly on supply factors re- prop, and/or light jet aircraft. However, many analysts believe lated to the financial outlook and production capabilities of that air taxi services provided by next-generation small aircraft the major VLJ manufacturers. The analysis that follows is best also have the potential to compete for trips that are currently thought of as a market "potential" forecast and, because the taken via commercial air service and/or automobile. These lat- air taxi market is just now emerging, it is inherently somewhat ter categories provide many times more trips than current speculative. Because the focus is on potential market demand, air taxi services, so it is important to include these travel modes it is implicitly assumed that manufacturers will be able to in the analysis.10 However, it also is important to recognize that expand production as needed to meet the demand. not all commercial air and automobile trips will be relevant. In The consumer demand for air taxi services can be viewed fact, it is likely that only a relatively small portion of such trips-- as a part of overall travel demand by consumers. The primary in particular, business trips by high income travelers over rela- components of travel demand that are relevant for the current tively short distances--will be realistic candidates for switching analysis include trip generation, mode choice, and trip distribu- to VLJ services. The specific filters used to restrict the "universe" tion. Trip generation refers to the overall number of travel trips of potential VLJ travelers on each mode are discussed below. and reflects the initial decision about whether to travel. Mode The primary analysis approach used is a mode choice analy- choice refers to which mode will be used for the trips. Trip dis- sis. The basic approach involves defining the "universe" of tribution refers to where the trips will occur; for present pur- potential existing trips for each mode in which next-generation poses, the primary interest is only in the origin and destination air taxi services may be able to compete. Each mode is defined of each trip as opposed to the actual routing. by a set of attributes relevant for travelers deciding among the Standard analysis of travel demand recognizes that it is a available choices. Typically the primary attributes thought to derived demand--people travel not because they enjoy travel- affect mode choice in transportation studies are price (i.e., cost) ling, but because it is a necessary component of some other and travel time. In addition, characteristics of the individuals end-use desire (e.g., meeting with clients or other business making the mode choices (typically income) may be important. associates, going on a vacation, visiting relatives, etc.). Because For the present analysis, it was also important to consider the of this, one cannot conclude that a newly available mode of impact of party size on the mode choice decision. For example, travel (e.g., VLJs) will necessarily increase the overall demand for travel. Rather, it is more likely that VLJs may "steal" traf- 10 White papers appearing on air taxi startup DayJet's website specifically fic from other existing modes of travel. Overall growth in mention the potential demand for their services from business travelers travel demand and trip generation is likely to depend mostly who currently travel via automobile because of the relative lack of on demographic trends in population and income. For the commercial air service between many smaller destinations in DayJet's present study, a constant per-capita trip rate is assumed for primary service area.