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53 and urban transit systems, similar jurisdictional issues exist even if there were a central funding source, persuading legis- in Canada and throughout North America.) lators and/or administrators to allocate scarce resources to a Urban transit systems in the United States typically receive new program of this type, in today's financial environment, some level of federal financial support for capital construction seems unlikely. and expansion. Because of this, the federal government is able For these reasons, a logical conclusion at this time is that to (and does) impose requirements on the funding recipients implementation of a nationwide airport APM performance to collect and report system performance data on an annual measurement program would have to begin on a voluntary basis. The result is the National Transit Database (NTD). basis. This conclusion serves as a basis for the following This database contains a wealth of data and information that discussions in Section 7.3, Airport Participation Issues, and are collected and reported by transit operating properties Section 7.4, Data Collection and Reporting Issues. throughout the United States. It is available free to the public at http://www.ntdprogram.gov. The information is substantial 7.3 Airport Participation Issues and comprehensive and is thus very useful to transit planners, administrators, and owner/operators. If one accepts the previous conclusion that an airport However, the information comes at a price: to the transit APM performance data collection and reporting program owners/operators, the price is the cost of collecting, organizing, will have to be (at least started) on a voluntary basis, then and reporting the data. [In most cases, additional employee(s) the central question that must be addressed is: Why would are required at the transit properties to deal with this report- an airport APM operator want to participate and thereby ing requirement. There are classes taught periodically around incur the attendant costs? And the most obvious answer is the United States to educate and train transit representatives that participation is perceived by the operator as in some in the specifics of this job.] To the federal government, the way enlightening and/or benefitting its operational activities. cost is the administrative organization required to process The program must be organized and implemented with this the reported data and ensure its availability to the public. In goal clearly in focus. short, because of the leverage gained by funding urban transit And how would participation in a performance measur- systems, the federal government has been able to establish ing program benefit an airport APM operator? Perhaps by and perpetuate a program of urban transit performance providing the operator with: information. This is not the case with the airport APM industry. With · Quantitative system information to enforce internal con- rare exceptions, airport APM systems are constructed and tractual requirements (in cases where O&M activities are operated with local funding. Therefore, the leverage used performed by contract entities), by the federal government to establish the National Transit · Quantitative system information to support internal Database for urban transit systems does not exist in the airport requests for funding, APM arena. Furthermore, there is no central authority that · Quantitative information to be used in discussions with has jurisdiction over the operational and safety issues of air- airport airlines and tenants, port APM systems. While the FTA, through enacted legisla- · Comparative information about other systems in order to tion, mandates that individual states oversee the safety of the assess relative performance levels achieved, transit systems in their states, it is left up to the individual · Comparative information about other systems to establish states to decide whether airport APM systems are included goals for improving and/or modifying performance and in this mandate. In cases where a state determines that air- costs in order to optimize system operation and service port APMs are included, state representatives perform safety levels, or audits and other oversight activities on the airport systems · Comparative information about other systems to persuade in accordance with the regulations promulgated by the FTA. airlines and/or airport tenants of the efficacy of choosing Some states do this, but most do not. In summary, virtually (or remaining at) the airport. all airport APM systems in the United States are constructed, owned, and operated by local entities--airport authorities In short, knowledge is power and competition is motiva- and/or cities--without federal involvement. This presents a tional. A voluntary program for collecting, reporting, and considerable obstacle to implementing a national (or North exchanging airport APM performance data would have to be American) program for collecting and disseminating airport designed and promoted on this basis. Practically speaking, APM performance data. such a program would have to be sold. A primary, initial task Similar issues arise when considering the funding that of the sponsoring agency or association would be to recruit would be required to implement a nationwide program. Quite participants. Person-power, money, and time would have simply, no central funding source is apparent. Furthermore, to be devoted to contacting candidate airports, explaining