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34 Planning for Offsite Airport Terminals Security The location of the offsite terminal, including the parking area, should provide the customer with a sense of safety and security. The passenger must feel safe in the parking facility and should perceive that parking at the offsite terminal is as safe as parking at the airport. Layout lighting, fencing, and presence of staff or security patrol are all important considerations. Offsite Terminal The configuration of the offsite terminal and the level of amenities should be developed to sat- isfy near-term airport user needs and projected long-term needs. What is practical and feasible for a specific project will depend on budget and goals and objectives unique to the project sponsor. If possible, customers should feel that once they arrive at the offsite terminal the airport experience has begun and they no longer need to worry about getting to the airport. While the high-quality transportation link will ease the customer's concern about the trip to the airport, layout and ameni- ties provided at the offsite terminal can serve as an extension of the on-airport experience. The following project elements will impact the cost, design, and operation of the offsite terminal: · Shared space versus dedicated terminal, · Modular building versus permanent structure, · Size, · Basic customer conveniences provided in an offsite terminal, · Amenities, · Pedestrian and vehicular access and circulation, · Bus bays and layover area, · Security, and · Hours of operation. Shared Space Versus Dedicated Terminal If possible, the offsite terminal should be a freestanding structure intended exclusively for air- port users and should also incorporate the ambiance of an airport terminal. This is especially important in suburban locations, where airport users may not be as familiar or comfortable using bus or rail service as airport users living in urban locations. Another option is to co-locate the offsite terminal with a well-utilized intermodal center serv- ing a geographic area with a threshold number of air passenger origins, as described in Chapter 3, either by automobile access or through the use of high-quality intermodal connections. While this may detract from the desired airport experience, it may not have a negative impact on rid- ership and may boost ridership, particularly among non-resident air passengers. This depends on a number of factors, including the terminal layout, the location of the airport transportation link, the perceived level of safety of the terminal, the quality of the terminal, and the ability of the intermodal connections to provide frequent and reliable connections to the airport trans- portation link. The airport transportation component of the intermodal center must have a strong identity: airport users must be certain of how to find the boarding area for the airport transportation link in order to board the next departing trip. At a minimum, the project sponsor should provide a dedicated waiting area and/or a boarding/alighting area within the intermodal facility. When a freestanding offsite terminal is not feasible or desirable because of costs, land avail- ability, political considerations, or other reasons, it may be located within another activity cen-
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Project Definition and Planning 35 ter such as a regional shopping center or office complex. In this case, the offsite terminal will function most effectively if it is situated independently of all other facilities so that airport users can easily locate it, do not have their access or egress impeded by non-airport users, and are not competing for parking with non-airport users. Shared Terminal Example: LAX's Union Station FlyAway Los Angeles World Airports operates the Union Station FlyAway, a nonstop bus service between Union Station in downtown Los Angeles and LAX. The service picks up and drops off airport customers at a bus plaza adjacent to Union Station. Union Station is an intermodal terminal serving Amtrak, commuter rail, light rail, and bus passengers. The terminal provides a waiting area, restrooms, food and beverage options, and a newsstand. FlyAway passengers purchase tickets at a ded- icated kiosk on the bus plaza. (Until 2008, passengers had the option checking their luggage through to their final destination for domestic flights on most air- lines; remote baggage check-in was discontinued in 2008 due to low customer usage.) For passengers accessing the FlyAway by private automobile, a dedicated parking area for FlyAway passengers is located in the parking garage adjacent to the bus plaza. Opened in early 2005, the Union Station FlyAway provided the missing link between LAX and the region via all modes serving Union Station. Modular Building Versus Permanent Structure If the project sponsor will be pursuing a dedicated terminal, a modular structure may be an option under the following circumstances: · In place of a permanent structure to reduce capital costs, · To test the market before a larger investment is made for a permanent structure, or · To provide a waiting area while a permanent structure is being built. The number of passengers the offsite terminal will accommodate and the amenities in the ter- minal may influence the decision between a modular and permanent facility. Size A permanent structure should be sized to accommodate passengers for medium-term growth (7 to 10 years) at a minimum and be designed to provide sufficient flexibility to accommodate long-term growth. It should have room for basic customer conveniences and amenities to be provided at the outset, as well as additional amenities that may be provided at a later date within the original footprint. For a shared terminal, consideration must be given to how customers will be provided with basic conveniences, and, if some of the conveniences aren't provided, how it might impact customer perception of the service and potential ridership. Basic Customer Conveniences Provided in an Offsite Terminal Basic customer conveniences provided in an offsite terminal include the following: · Waiting area and seating with sufficient space for placement of luggage--seating needs can be estimated by considering capacity and schedule of buses traveling to and from the offsite ter- minal, plus estimated use by meeters/greeters and users of other services in the terminal; · Adequate space for customer circulation with luggage;
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36 Planning for Offsite Airport Terminals · Restrooms; · Space for bus ticketing--bus ticketing machines or customer ticket booth; · Space for parking revenue collection--if the parking revenue system selected requires space in the terminal; · Vending machines; · ATM; · Public telephone; and · Courtesy phone for local taxicab service and/or local hotel/motels. In addition, it may be required or desirable to have a separate restroom and break area for off- site terminal employees and bus drivers. Amenities An offsite terminal building that offers some of the features of an airline terminal provides an environment with a similar feel to the airline terminal. In addition to the basic customer con- veniences in the offsite terminal--waiting area and seating, restrooms, space for bus ticketing, an ATM, and public telephones--the amenities discussed in this section will enhance the cus- tomer experience in the terminal, but should be weighed against the feasibility of providing them. There is no evidence that the amenities will attract additional customers. Some amenities will not be economically feasible without a minimum number of customers. For example, without a minimum number of customers, installation of vending machines dis- pensing food and beverages is more practical than providing a food-and-beverage stand. In this case, space may be allocated for development of amenities that may be feasible as the customer base grows. In a shared terminal with potential users from the larger shared customer base, the provision of some amenities may be more feasible than in a dedicated terminal. An important consideration is the practicality of specific amenities for the customer base. For example, the pas- senger dwell time inside the offsite terminal will be less for a transportation link with 15-minute headways than it will be for a link with 1-hour headways. There are fewer amenities that make sense with shorter passenger wait times in the offsite terminal unless the amenities are accessi- ble and useful for the general community in the vicinity of the offsite terminal. The potential amenities for an offsite terminal are · Areas for sales of food and beverage and other retail uses including newsstands, drugstores, gifts, flowers, dry cleaning, car wash, and automobile detailing (if consumption of food and beverage is prohibited on the transportation link, food and beverage sales may not be feasible); · Rental car counters, which could potentially increase the attractiveness of the offsite terminal and transportation link for non-residents who need to rent an automobile for travel within the region, but which would require space on or near the premises for rental car pick-up and drop-off, storage and ready return; · Flight Information Display System (FIDS) to inform customers and meeters/greeters about departing and arriving flights; · Airline ticketing kiosks for flight check-in; · Airline ticket counters (because of the current financial state of the U.S.based airlines, air- line staffing in remote locations may be a phenomenon of the past); · Wireless internet access; · Electrical outlets for passengers to charge electronic equipment; · Business center; · Remote luggage check; · On-site screening of passengers and luggage; and · Other services found in an airport terminal.
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Project Definition and Planning 37 Remote Luggage Check For enplaning passengers, it is more efficient for luggage check-in to be operated by a third- party operator who can process luggage for a large number of airlines compared with multiple airlines providing luggage check at the offsite terminal. This is currently being offered at some offsite terminals, cruise ship terminals, convention centers, and hotels. The luggage is accepted at the off-airport location and screening is conducted at the airport. The logistics of transport- ing the luggage to the airport, security screening, and distributing to individual flights at the air- port may require luggage check-in times of 2.5 to 3 hours before flight time, which may not be practical for some passengers. If the passenger is not required to be on the same bus as the lug- gage, the service may be appealing to passengers who drop off the luggage in advance of the flight and return for a later bus to the airport. For deplaning passengers, the provision of luggage checked through to the offsite terminal would require a system for airlines to tag luggage throughout the flight network and efficient retrieval at the airport to prevent long wait times at the offsite terminal. On-site Security Screening of Passengers and Luggage On-site security screening of both passengers and luggage could serve as an incentive for more customers to use the offsite terminal since it would save passengers time and avoid inconven- ience at the airport. If a procedure was developed that enabled air passengers to be screened for security at the offsite terminal on terms that were acceptable to the airlines, the airport operator, and the Transportation Security Administration, passengers could be transported to the secure part of the airline terminal and avoid waiting in security lines at the airport. Considerations for developing cutoff times for processing at the offsite terminal are: (1) the imposition of a long cutoff time for security processing at the terminal in relation to the flight departure time will diminish the appeal of using the amenity; and (2) cutoff times that lead to passenger arrival at the airport that are close to boarding times will reduce passenger exposure to on-airport concessions and lower the average passenger spend rate. Passengers are not likely to spend extra time at the concessions at the offsite terminal because they'll want to board the next transportation link to the airport to be near their departure gate. Alternatives to passenger security screening at the offsite terminal are to provide a passenger screening area(s) on-airport for the processing of offsite terminal customers or to provide head- of-the-queue privileges at in-terminal passenger security screening for users of the offsite terminal, similar to when air passengers on next departing flights are permitted to go to the head of the queue. Customer Access and Circulation Space must be allocated on the offsite terminal property for ingress and egress of vehicles trans- porting customers to/from the offsite terminal. Thought should be given to whether the transporta- tion link will share the same ingress and egress route with vehicles transporting customers to and from the site. In addition to a short-term parking area for passengers being picked up and dropped off, curb space in front of the terminal should be made available for vehicles that are picking up and drop- ping off passengers and for taxi pick-up and drop-off. If there is a sufficient market for taxi service, space for a taxi stand should be allocated near the terminal. If other scheduled public transporta- tion modes will serve the terminal, space near the terminal must be allocated for this function. Bus Bays and Layover Area If all of the customer pick-up and drop-off in low-occupancy modes will occur at the front of the terminal, the airport transportation link should be planned so that customers are served from
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38 Planning for Offsite Airport Terminals the side or from the back of the terminal to provide a dedicated area for the airport transporta- tion link and to promote safety. For headways of a half-hour to an hour, there should be space adjacent to the terminal for at least two buses: one picking up and one dropping off. Since the buses are serving air passengers with luggage, it can be expected that it will take at least 5 min- utes to unload baggage and for passengers to alight from an arriving bus. Departing buses should be at the boarding area at least 10 minutes prior to departure since it will take longer for passen- gers to board the bus and get settled, and it takes time to organize luggage that will be unloaded at the airport terminal (at airports having multiple terminals). Because of scheduling, it is pos- sible for more than two buses to be at the offsite terminal at one time. There should be room in the boarding/alighting area for a third bus or space on the property for buses to layover when they are not in service. For headways of less than a half-hour, more space may be needed. When considering the layout for the terminal and bus zone, bus movements, including access and ingress routes and turning radii, must be taken into consideration. Security Airport customers must feel as safe using the offsite terminal and related parking as they feel using the airport terminal and parking. The location of the offsite terminal and related parking must be perceived as safe to potential customers. On-site staff provides a sense of security for customers and thought should be given to lighting as it relates to a secure environment. It may also be judicious for local police to patrol the offsite terminal from time to time, particularly in the late evening and early morning hours. Hours of Operation The offsite terminal should be open and staffed during all hours the airport transportation link is in operation.