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Over the past 5 years, there has been a revolution in the way that airports can present ground transportation options to their travelers. Tools and media that would have been unimaginable just a decade ago are now readily available to airport managers interested in creating better pub- lic mode ground transportation strategies to their airport. Chapter 9 examines those tools and those media in the context of the central theme of the report: that planning and implementation of ground access services must be undertaken to meet the needs of the user as defined and refined in a program of market research and segmentation. Thus, the chapter examines the development of new and evolving information technology to bring airport ground access information and ticketing options to the traveler. The presentation of service options to the traveler is presented here as the last phase of an integrated program of market-based improvements to airport ground access public modes. Getting Information about Ground Access To an increasing extent, airline trip planning is either (1) accomplished by the traveler using the Internet or (2) accomplished by a travel advisor to the traveler using the Internet. Thus, this section of Chapter 9 will first focus on the manner in which airport websites are or are not pro- viding high-quality information to the traveler (or advisor) about ground access services to/from the specific airport. Ultimately, information about local airport services will be interconnected with other media and tools used in the trip planning process. If each airport website can accu- rately describe the ground transportation services available at that airport, integration of that information with other media used by the traveler (such as airline websites, Expedia, Travelocity, Google, etc.) will logically occur over time. Airport managers will need to provide to the traveler several different kinds of ground trans- portation information, not only information about airport-managed, -regulated, and -monitored ground services that are operated specifically for the airport marketâtaxis, airport limousines, airport vans, and airport coach bus services (sometimes called âairportersâ)âbut also informa- tion about the regional public transportation system in general, including service details that are far beyond the responsibility of airport management. Thus, one of the challenges in the design of the airport-based website on the subject of ground access services is the need to provide direct, quick access both to those services that are well documented by airport management and to those services that are best organized and described by others in the region. In 2007, three new services attempted to integrate the two kinds of infor- mation: one in the United States, one in Europe, and one in Asia. 177 C H A P T E R 9 Getting Ground Access Information to the Traveler
How U.S. Airport Websites Cover Ground Access Details about public transportation modes to the airport are not necessarily the highest priority element in an airportâs website and thus, some level of navigation through some hier- archy of website structure is required. A currently favored format is to provide flight status information, as well as security updates and constraints, on the home page of the website. A tab is often presented for several categories of information, one of which usually describes ground transportation services. Thus, ground transportation is usually created in a second tier of information. In a commonly used format, the user must select which mode of transportation is of interest. After the selection of that mode, the user is provided a page that gives a summary of the services of that mode and paths of navigation to get to more detail. The following sections will review this approach and document how different approaches are now being developed in Europe, Asia, and the United States. Ground Access Information on the San Francisco Airport Website San Francisco can be used as a case study in the provision of airport ground access informa- tion because of the high quality of traveler information available: â¢ The San Francisco airport website is well managed and has traditionally been a good example of airport ground access information. In previous years, the San Francisco airport website directly provided schedule information from private and public carriers. As discussed later in this chapter, the website now uses hyperlinks for most carrier service descriptions. â¢ The dominant single-mode operator, the Bay Area Rapid Transit District, has traditionally been a leader in the task of giving out passenger information about the rail options. â¢ A dominant multimodal information program managed at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in Oakland provides regional traveler information about all public transporta- tion modes and services. As can be seen in this case, the challenges associated with good multimodal information do not come from a lack of well-managed information; the challenges come in the manner in which it is assembled and presented to the public. Passenger Information Provided by the Airport The navigation hierarchy of the San Francisco airport website structures ground access infor- mation, first, by mode and, second, by geography of the destination. First, the user selects the mode; then, the user specifies a geographic area for the destination. Third, the user is presented with the selected modal services for the selected geographic area. The user may select a mode from the following list: â¢ Limousines â¢ Taxis â¢ Door-to-door vans â¢ Pre-arranged vans â¢ Public transit â¢ Airporters â¢ Charter operations At this point, the user must have some understanding of the meaning and relevance of each of the categories. Once a category is chosen, the user is presented with a regional map with four general sub-regions defined. Under the category of public transit, the user is provided with a 178 Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation
thumbnail description of the rail service or bus route numbers, and then offered a quick hyper- link to the actual carrier, where the information-seeking process starts again. For example, a user selecting the mode âairporterâ must then select the portion of the region where he/she wishes to go, for example, the East Bay. Only at that moment will the user learn if the airporter even goes to the East Bay. In theory, there are some potential inefficiencies in this hierarchy. For example, if the user selects airporters, as opposed to vans or public transportation, and then specifies the city of San Francisco, he/she is informed that there are no airporters to San Francisco. Thus, the user must start the process again. In short, the user has to make a choice of mode before knowing anything about that mode. Optimally, the system would be designed to interactively help the user know what his/her reasonable options are as he/she navigates through the hierarchy of screens and information. Passenger Information Provided by Other Agencies Part of the information about ground access services is best maintained, managed, and pro- vided by agencies other than the airport management. The airport website needs to include navigation that offers these connections to users that need them. Under the category âPublic Transit,â the user is offered a direct link to the BART system, which goes directly to a feature called âQuick Planner.â At the âQuick Planner,â user interface, the user is offered a drop-down menu of origins, including every BART station name, one of which is âSan Francisco Interna- tional Airport.â In addition, the BART page may offer the opportunity to click on the words âAir- port Service.â Here the user chooses between an information page for Oakland International Airport or for San Francisco International Airport. After that selection is made, an excellent sum- mary of information and issues about access to the selected airport is presented to the user. Thus, the BART managers have created a summary description of information needed by users of San Francisco International Airport, but the user must employ some navigational skill to find it when starting on the San Francisco International Airport website. In theory, the airport website could offer a direct hyperlink to this informative BART web page. The San Francisco Bay Area is also home to one of the most comprehensive multimodal trip planning programs in the United States, called simply â511.org.â The San Francisco Interna- tional Airportâs website offers a near seamless integration with the ambitious multiagency, multi- modal trip itinerary planning capability. On the âGround Transportationâ opening page of the San Francisco International Airport website, a hyperlink is offered to 511.org. This link takes the user directly to a âpopular destinationâ page, shown here as Figure 9-1, specifically designed to help airport users. At this page, the user can navigate to any service provided by 511.org, while most information is designed to help provide information about the San Francisco International Airport. As shown on Figure 9-1, a âPlan a Tripâ feature is offered with a button that specifies âfrom this Destination.â Because of the careful design of this program, the next screen has already filled in San Francisco International Airport as the origin of the trip itinerary planning query. The multimodal system can recommend a trip from an airport using rapid transit provided by one agency, which connects to a local bus from another agency, which services the requested destination. In the navigation from the airport website to this screen, the needs of the airport were handled in an efficient âseamlessâ manner. The program also offers a chance to plan a return trip, to alter the trip optimization assumptions, or to continue from the requested desti- nation to yet another segment. To summarize, the San Francisco International Airport website essentially offers two alter- native paths of navigation for the air traveler who wants to plan a public transportation trip. Getting Ground Access Information to the Traveler 179
For the public transportation network as a whole, the traveler can transfer seamlessly to the regional traveler information system and plan any trip by traditional public transportation modes. By staying within the airport website, the user can navigate to learn about airport specific services. The challenge comes for trips that might fall under both categories. A high-quality airporter, whose tickets are available to the general public, operates non-stop between the airport and the terminal in Marin County. The 511.org transit trip recommendation, however, was through a local bus line to downtownâa bus line that specifically bars riders from carrying luggage on the bus. Briefly stated, the regional multimodal transit routing service does not, and does not pre- tend to, present a summary of services specifically designed for airport users. What results is the need for two separate paths of information. If the air traveler had followed the standard navigation to âAirporterâ first, to North Bay second, and then clicked on Marin Airporter, a full description of these services would be provided. Integration with Real-Time Flight Information The San Francisco International Airport website is pioneering the concept of providing ground service information tied to the timing and location of specific flights, both arriving and departing. The service, called âSFOnroute,â currently provides highly detailed walking path information for those passengers or meeter/greeters who arrive by automobile; basic hyperlinks are offered to the websiteâs descriptions of public transportation options. The program is com- pared later in this chapter with a more integrated ground access trip planning program now being tested with Narita International Airport. 180 Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation SOURCE: â511.org,â Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Oakland, CA. Figure 9-1. The regional information system provides an airport specific first page.
Ground Access Information on the Portland (Oregon) Airport Website Like other airport websites in this review, the Portland (Oregon) airport offers âGround Transportationâ as a choice for the second screen immediately following the introductory screen (home page). Unlike many sites, details about arrivals and departures are not shown on the opening screen; however, that screen must provide information on three additional airports, also operated by the Port of Portland. Like Boston, the Portland (Oregon) airport offers the Airport Wayfarer(tm) product. The opening segment of this highly sophisticated simulation program presents an informative transi- tion from satellite-type graphic images into three-dimensional schematic graphic images, which include a clear description of the location of rental cars and the light rail station. However, it does not include a walking path simulation to any connecting public mode services. By comparison, the simulation of the walking path from short-term parking is presented with a remarkable level of realism. Passenger Information Provided by the Airport The âGround Transportationâ screen is unlike any other U.S. airport website reviewed in this ACRP project because the drop-down menus allow the user to narrow the search for a local service either first by modal category or first by geographic area (Figure 9-2). As in most airport websites, navigation is offered by mode first, and then by company. The choice of âDoor-to-Door Shuttleâ produces a screen that lists about 17 companies authorized to provide those services to Portland International Airport; the link for a specific company then reveals a list of the destinations the company serves. In addition, the Portland (Oregon) airport website offers the same information, organized first by geography, defined as the non-airport end of the trip. Thus, the choice of âPortland Getting Ground Access Information to the Traveler 181 SOURCE: Portland International Airport website. Figure 9-2. The Portland International Airport system lets the user specify destination first or query by mode category.
Metro Areaâ on the opening ground transportation page produces a screen with a wide variety of very specific destinations in the Portland Metro area: examples include The Rose Gardens in Washington Park, Powellâs Bookstore, and the Amtrak Depot, as well as more traditional listings of towns and cites. The choice of âWashingtonâ produces a list of about 28 candidate des- tinations within the state of Washington. When the user finds the desired destination, clicking on the link produces the list of companies that serve that destination (Figure 9-3). Passenger Information Provided by Other Agencies The opening page for ground transportation services on the Portland International Airport website has a large icon on the upper right that offers a direct transfer to Tri-Met, the local pub- lic transportation operator. Importantly, the link is made to a page providing information about the specific line that serves the airport, rather than linking to a more general-purpose agency home page. At the light rail page, origin-to-destination trip itinerary planning is on the next level of services offered. At the data input page, the âoriginâ (Portland International Airport) has not been filled in as it was in the case of the Bay Areaâs 511.org. Clicking on the light rail map itself produces a highly interactive map of the rail system. Click- ing on the icon for the airport station produces a complete description of services and amenities at the airport station. In theory at least, the transit operator could create a first page that is specific to the needs of those who come to the site from the hyperlink on the airport website. As it is, a very good sum- mary of the services of the airport rail station is provided via a relatively indirect path: airport website to light rail line page to interactive map to station details provided via the interactive map. As it stands, the user of the airport website may or may not succeed in navigating to the transit agencyâs airport station information page. Ground Access Information on the Boston Airport Website Passenger Information Provided by the Airport The website for Bostonâs Logan International Airport also has the Airport Wayfinder(tm) graph- ics system, a portion of which is devoted to showing ground transportation departure locations at 182 Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation SOURCE: Portland International Airport website. Figure 9-3. When the user specifies the destination, the Portland International Airport system provides the list of carriers.
each of the four terminals. Long loading times at start-up make this feature less usable than at the Portland International Airport website. For bus or van services, the data are organized by carrier: carrier name first, destination sec- ond. Thus, the user selects the name of the company and then learns where the company goes. There is no structuring of companies in the manner developed in Portland, which is organized by geography first. Passenger Information Provided by Other Agencies The navigation structure of Bostonâs airport website also follows a hierarchy by mode: after the user chooses public transportation, a hyperlink to the MBTAâs home page is offered. From there, the user may or may not discover a well-presented page entitled âTake the T to Logan,â which offers comprehensive routing advice by corridor of origin. The page is located in a more general category of how to ride the system. The home page offers origin-to-destination trip itinerary planning, which shows all MBTA services to Logan International Airport, but not those of the Logan Express bus service or the many private carriers that serve the airport directly (Figure 9-4). For example, a query on the MBTA trip planner for a trip from Logan International Airport to Natick does produce a com- bined bus plus commuter rail trip, but does not include the Logan Express, which is available to the general public. Ground Access Information on the New York JFK Airport Website Passenger Information Provided by the Airport Under the category âGround Transportation,â the user can choose between the categories âCar/Van Service,â âBus,â or âTrain.â Information about van service is available for connections Getting Ground Access Information to the Traveler 183 SOURCE: MBTA website. Figure 9-4. The MBTA Trip Planner will recommend a trip on local transit, but not on the Logan Express.
to other airports and then to five separate geographic areas. In practice, standard bus coach ser- vices are included in these listings. The ground transportation section of the website contains no specific reference to informa- tion about, or any hyperlinks to, the AirTrain, which is the backbone of many connections from JFK airport. For some reason, AirTrain is included as a tab on the initial airport home page, but not as a tab on the ground transportation page. Once found, the AirTrain section of the website is one of the best custom-designed informa- tion modules on any U.S. airport website. Presented in this section is an innovative feature called the âTrip Planner.â Ten geographic areas are offered via a drop-down menu: for example, separate screens are produced for Midtown and for Downtown (Lower) Manhattan. Given that the âTrip Plannerâ is located on the AirTrain section of the website, only information about trips that utilize the AirTrain is presented. In the AirTrain section, the airport managers at JFK airport have taken a slightly different approach. Given that the transfer at Jamaica Station is not intuitively easy, once the general area of the trip destination has been specified by the user, text is provided that describes each aspect of the service and, more importantly, the processes of transfer and fare payment. The AirTrain section of the JFK airport website also offers what it refers to as a âvirtual tour,â a 360Â° view of the station at a point immediately in front of the turnstiles. It is not a simulation of a walking path as used on the Portland or Boston websites. Passenger Information Provided by Other Agencies After the user has selected either the bus or train mode in the Ground Transportation section, the JFK website says âclick here for bus schedulesâ or âclick here for train schedules,â respectively. These hyperlinks take the user to the home page of Trips123. Trips123 is the major multimodal traveler information program for the three-state New York City metropolitan area, managed by TRANSCOM, the Transportation Operations Coordinating Committee. On the home page of the Trips123 system, a hyperlink to the transit trip planner is available. On the data input page of the transit trip planner, the origin âJFKâ has not been filled in. However, the system accepted the input terms âJFK Airportâ and âHerald Squareâ without seeking further clarifications. (The system defaulted to the assumption that the trip commenced at JFK Terminal One.) Maps were offered by the Trips123 system that did not include the exis- tence of the AirTrain on airport property or the existence of the AirTrain at its point of transfer at Jamaica Station. A sample trip from JFK airport to Grand Central Station was routed by a local bus to a trans- fer in a residential neighborhood to a second public transportation bus to Madison Avenue near Grand Central Station, with a travel time of more than an hour. Clearly, the direct non-stop airporter coach bus from JFK airport to Grand Central Station was not included in the Trips123 inventory of public transportation services. The regional trip itinerary planner, Trips123, is able to provide real-time information about the location of both construction and incidents on the highway system. Figure 9-5 shows a recent screen capture in which two traffic incidents and one construction site were reported on the Van Wyck Expressway (I-678) in the general area of JFK airport. In early 2007, Trips123 is expecting to offer real-time travel times on the roadway system, which could be a key input consideration for those choosing between transit and automobile ground access modes to the airport. 184 Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation
Ground Access Information on the Atlanta Airport Website Passenger Information Provided by the Airport At the HartsfieldâJackson Atlanta Airport website, the first ground transportation screen summarizes and shows the location of a ground transportation information center on the air- port. The user is given access to a very detailed map of the bus/van departure area, which is updated to show the exact location of construction activities and the changes in pedestrian paths caused by that construction. Also offered on the opening screen is a simulated walk- through and drive-through of the airport, including the principal locations for ground access information. Upon clicking âMetro Shuttles,â the user is shown a list of about 50 destinations that are served from the airport. The user can click on a given town and is provided with a list of the van oper- ators who are authorized to provide service to that town and their telephone numbers. For the shuttles outside of the metro area, a pull-down list of served communities is provided, followed by a âsubmitâ button. The van operators authorized to serve that area are presented on the following screen. Thus, for the shuttle van system, the airport website offers a navigation system that queries geography first and provides a list of service options second. Upon clicking âMetro Trains,â the user is offered a two-paragraph introduction to the MARTA system, with a hyperlink to the MARTA home page. Passenger Information Provided by Other Agencies As of early 2007, MARTA does not have the kind of originâdestination trip itinerary planner offered by BART or the MBTA. Upon arrival at the MARTA home page, the user is offered a large interactive map, upon which the user can zoom in and out for various levels of detail. However, not referenced on that home page is a service under âExploring Atlantaâ called the âAirport Getting Ground Access Information to the Traveler 185 SOURCE: Trips123 website. Figure 9-5. The Trips123 Screen for JFK airport shows real-time traffic incidents, but not the JFK AirTrain.
Station Helper.â This page has helpful information about how to use the MARTA trains to access the airport. In short, valuable transit information is available, which may or may not be discov- ered in the normal act of navigation from the airport website. How European and Asian Airport Websites Cover Ground Access On February 28, 2007, the most advanced program for covering airport ground access services was inaugurated at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The program provides for a seamless integration of trip planning for ground access services managed by the airport with those services not managed by the airport. In concept, the new website is remarkably similar to the experimental airport ground access module being developed for the Baltimore/Washington International Airport, discussed at the end of this chapter. Ground Access Information on the Amsterdam Airport Website Passenger Information Provided by the Airport The institutional relationship between Schiphol Airport and the national provider of multi- modal passenger information is very similar to that in operation in San Francisco and in the New York City region: the regional provider of multimodal systems is independent from the line oper- ators of the transportations services and facilities. Each of the U.S. case studies reviewed the way in which the U.S. airport covered the airport-based transportation options separately from the more commonly available fixed-route and -schedule services included in the regional system. From the airport managerâs point of view, âcontracting outâ the provision of ground trans- portation information may not be wise because the regional system may not cover all of the key airport-based services. For example, in the JFK airport case study presented previously, the non- stop bus from JFK airport to Grand Central Station, operated by New York Airport Express, was not included in the dataset accessed to plan a trip from JFK airport to Grand Central Station. Therefore, the proposed trip resulted in a transfer on a residential street, an option that would discourage many travelers. Like the experimental ground access module being developed for Baltimore/Washington International Airport that will be discussed later in this chapter, the Schiphol website integrates the database of airport-specific ground transportation services and traditional publicly available transit services. This integration allows the trip planning module to propose all modal solutions to the user simultaneously. Figure 9-6 shows the results of a query about a trip from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to the town of Delft. The private automobile (and the taxi) can make the trip in 41 minutes; public transporta- tion can make the trip in 49 minutes. The private taxi will cost â¬73, while the train will cost â¬8.30. The shared taxi will cost â¬35. In the case of The Netherlands, âpublic transportâ will usually mean rail, but the logic of the program could easily be applied to bus service as an alternative to rail. These transport options have been placed on the same screen as an interactive map, which has shown the origin (Schiphol Airport) and the destination (Delft) of the trip. The map is highly scalable, and the user can center the screen and zoom in to find whatever detail about the trip that is desired. Figure 9-7 shows the screen presented when the user asked for more details about the shared- ride taxi. In the forms that need to be filled out to reserve such a taxi, the program has already supplied the zip code for the area traveled to (Delft). The user need only add the house and apart- ment details. The shared-ride taxi request must be made 24 hours before the trip is undertaken. 186 Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation
Getting Ground Access Information to the Traveler 187 SOURCE: Amsterdam Schiphol Airport website. Figure 9-6. Amsterdam airportâs travel planner summarizes times and costs for all modes serving the airport, including both airport and public transport options. SOURCE: Amsterdam Schiphol Airport website. Figure 9-7. The Amsterdam airport website offers direct booking of shared-ride taxi/van service to and from the airport.
From the vantage point of the user, the destination and date are specified first, and a sketch level summary of all the travel options to that destination is presented. The user selects a mode for more information and then can proceed linearly to the process of buying/reserving the ser- vice. The Schiphol Airport trip planner is integrated in terms of all modal options and in terms of supporting reservations and sales. Passenger Information Provided by Other Agencies The Schiphol Airport ground access information system provides most of the information needed to plan a trip by any mode (whether dominated by the airport management or by the national systems) anywhere in The Netherlands. In addition, traditional hyperlinks to all the actual carriers are included elsewhere on the website. Ground Access Planning on the Narita Airport Website At about the same time that Amsterdam Schiphol Airport was taking the lead in integrating all ground access information, a new approach was launched by the ambitious e-airport pro- gram, which was described in TCRP Report 83. Under the e-airport program, Narita Interna- tional Airport has developed the first ground access trip planning system that is tied to specific airline flights. Figure 9-8 shows that the program has four options for getting started depending on the needs of the user: â¢ The program can be started to support a departing flight. â¢ The program can be started to support an arriving flight. 188 Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation SOURCE: Narita Airport website. Figure 9-8. âNarita Airport Access Plannerâ allows the user to plan the ground access trip to connect with the departing or arriving flight.
â¢ The program can be aimed at the needs of the meeter/greeter. â¢ The program can be started by simply entering a date and time. Through a series of queries, the user is offered a long list of hotels and rail stations in the area. With the ground access departure time established by the scheduled arrival/departure time of the plane (via an Official Airline Guide static schedule), the user informs the system of his/her willingness to use bus, rail, and/or premium rail, and a set of recommended ground access trips are offered timed to the specific airplane flight. As a result of query for a trip to the Ginza district, Figure 9-9 shows two high-quality rail options, one via the Narita Express costing 3,300 yen, taking 1 hour and 17 minutes to the destination, while a cheaper rail connection takes 5 minutes more, at a cost of 1,240 yen. A brief testing of the system suggests that the program will send the user by rail when rail stations are specified as the destination and by bus when hotels are specified as the destination. The concept of linking supportive ground information to the needs of air travelers, and meeters/greeters, to specific flights is now being further developed on the San Francisco Inter- national Airport website. Unlike the Narita program, the user begins the process by obtaining the real-time status of the particular flight; for example, for greeters meeting a specific flight, the program produces a recommended short-term garage, along with a walking path from the garage to the end of the security arrival point, and pictures of that designated meeting area. This San Francisco International Airport program is not fully described in this report, because it does not interconnect with public transportation information at this time. Getting Ground Access Information to the Traveler 189 SOURCE: Narita Airport website. Figure 9-9. The Narita trip planner compares one rail trip to Ginza for 3,300 yen with a second trip for 1,200 yen which is only 5 minutes longer.
Ground Access Information on the London Heathrow Airport Website Passenger Information Provided by the Airport Like most airport websites, the London Heathrow Airport website has a second tier page (following the home page) where all transportation modes are listed, and the user must choose among train, bus, taxi, etc.; that is, the hierarchy of navigation is mode first, geographic detail second. However, for those travelers going to or from London, a hyperlink at the same level as the major modes takes the user to a simple and straightforward summary of the various modes (from the taxi to the premium priced train) to get to and from London. Therefore, for the trip to London only, the hierarchy of navigation is geography first, modes second, and details of the selected mode third. Passenger Information Provided by Other Agencies The ground transportation section of the Heathrow Airport website offers a link to the United Kingdomâs national program of traveler information, called âTransport Direct.â The program provides both public and automobile trip planning from every point in the United Kingdom to every point in the United Kingdom through a remarkable assembly and integration of national and local trip planning systems and databases. Figure 9-10 shows the results of a query for trips from Heathrow Airport to a point in the Victoria Station area of Central London. As is shown, the program reviews all possible combinations of modal segments. The program has the ability to include air as well as ground segments, although this is irrelevant to the discussion of trip plan- ning from the airport. Importantly, the program also includes times for automobile trips, which serves as a surrogate for taxi times in this context. Figure 9-10 shows a quick summary of all modes available for the trip to Central London. This format differs slightly from the multimodal originâdestination trip itinerary planners in San Francisco and New York City, both of which made a specific trip recommendation by pub- lic transportation. The Transport Direct trip recommendation page always offers several modal combinations and immediately presents their travel times, but not their costs. For this 190 Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation SOURCE: Transport Direct website. Figure 9-10. The Transport Direct website shows all modes, including the automobile, from Heathrow Airport to a point in Central London; standard bus coach service is the fastest and cheapest.
particular destination, the fastest trip is by a National Express Coach, an option not always considered for an airport with both direct rapid transit and direct high-speed rail service. Transport Direct can offer ground transportation advice between all airports in the United Kingdom and any point in the United Kingdom. At the present time, the Heathrow Airport website offers the user the link to the Transport Direct website on the second page, under âTo and from Our Airport.â The user is then offered the standard Transport Direct opening screen, which has a great deal of information that is not at all relevant to the needs of an air traveler planning a trip in the future, including roadway detours all around the United Kingdom. At this point, the user must type in the words âLondon Heathrowâ and the appropriate destination. The program then follows with a screen asking the user to confirm or clarify the same words, even if they were correctly entered. The management at Transport Direct has currently embarked on a major program to sim- plify the process of transfer between websites, which could improve the integration of the ser- vices. As shown in Figure 9-11, Transport Direct has developed an application programming interface (API) to improve the access from individual websites into the Transport Direct trip planning process. Any website associated with an organization (such as Joeâs Restaurant) with an address is provided with a Transport Direct icon with words such as âGet Directions to Joeâs Restaurant here.â Clicking the icon causes a new window to open in which Joeâs Restaurant is already specified as the destination of the trip, and the user must specify only the trip origin. In effect, the API has eliminated both the need to enter the address and the need for the program to clarify or confirm this address. This service is currently being offered at no cost for use in every website in the United Kingdom. When it is adopted by the airports, it will make the trans- fer process to national trip planning system far more seamless. According to interviews with the managers of Transport Direct, this program will form the basis of their developing relationships with airports. Ground Access Information on the Zurich Airport Website Passenger Information Provided by the Airport Public mode access to Zurich Airport is overwhelmingly provided by the national rail system, whose transfer and link is discussed in the following paragraph. Thus, the home page actually uses the phrase ârail connectionsâ to link the user to the next level of ground transportation Getting Ground Access Information to the Traveler 191 SOURCE: Transport Direct website. Figure 9-11. The trip planning services of Transport Direct will be made available for free to every website in the United Kingdom, including all airports.
information. For bus connections, the website provides a hyperlink to a regional transit infor- mation system, at which the user can navigate to originâdestination trip itinerary planning. The Zurich Airport website offers a link to a regional bus system, but no major transfer for local trip planning is emphasized on the airport-based website. An earlier link to door-to-door trip plan- ning in the destination area has been eliminated. In Munich, the airport website simply offers a hyperlink to either the national railway website or the local transportation management agency website; there, an airport-specific page is available, but the airport website does not attempt to link directly to that page. Passenger Information Provided by Other Agencies The Zurich Airport website offers a somewhat unique approach to the question of the trans- fer to a second information provider. On the first page of ground transportation information, the user is offered hyperlinks in two columns of the nine most popular rail destinations (e.g., to Lucerne or from Lucerne) as shown on Figure 9-12. The hyperlinks take the user away from the airport website into the trip itinerary planning system of the Swiss Federal Railways, where both the origin (Zurich Airport) and the destination (Lucerne) are already entered into the data entry page. If the user does not enter his/her desired date and time, the system defaults to the present hour and proceeds to look up the trip options for the specified time. Once in the rail website, the user can proceed directly to ticket purchase. The net effect is quite seamless as most users would not be aware that they were no longer connected to the airport website. The Baltimore/Washington International Airport Prototype Ground Access Module Most major U.S. airports are now aggressively telling their story to the public via airport-based websites on the Internet. A major research effort is now under way to create a prototype format for presenting ground access information to airport customers, funded and managed by the I-95 Corridor Coalition. Based on that research, a partnership has developed between the Coalition and Airports Council International/North America to support the development of common formats and protocols for ground access information content on airport websites. 192 Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation SOURCE: Zurich Airport website. Figure 9-12. The Zurich Airport trip planner hyperlinks to the Swiss Federal Railway trip planner, where the origin and destinations are automatically entered.
The Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI) project seeks to use map-based inter- actions to simplify the airport ground access trip itinerary planning process, while at the same time allowing for text-based data entry for users who prefer it. The project, which has been under development for several years, provides the traveler with immediate access to readily accessible information, followed by additional screens and hyperlinks to external sources only when needed and selected by the user. The project proposes that a hierarchy of screen information be provided to the traveler using the airport website: 1. The user should specify where he/she wants to go upon leaving the airport by using a single click on an interactive map (or entering the destination as text). 2. The program should quickly and briefly describe all modes of transportation that are avail- able to that general area, whether they are airport-based or traditional public transportation services. 3. The user should be able to request additional information on the chosen option(s) if needed. 4. The program should quickly provide the information that is relevant and appropriate to the service being queried. Some of this information will be stored in the airportâs server; in other cases, a transfer to a second regional traveler information system will be initiated. 5. More detailed information specific to the proposed solution should be provided to the user, which can include product sales by the proposed carrier when appropriate. Passenger Information Provided by the Airport Figure 9-13 shows the opening screen of the BWI Ground Access Information System. The user is requested to specify his/her destination; this specification can occur on the Google map, using standard Google navigation procedures. The user is encouraged to click on a point âsomewhere nearâ his/her proposed destination. More detail about geographic location can be provided later in the process if needed. Alternatively, the user may select a destination from a series of drop-down lists offered by town/city name, by WMATA MetroRail station, or by MARC commuter rail sta- tion. Beneath the drop-down lists, the user can input the zip code of the destination, if known. If the interactive map has been used, the map centers itself on the clicked destination, and a summary of immediately available information is presented for taxi, shared-ride van, bus, or rail service to the area. Rough travel times and costs are included. For each destination, the program gives a proposed fare on the shared-ride system and offers a link to the company that serves that particular zip code. On the display panel, a rail tab that brings up a second display panel is offered for the user desiring more detail about rail connections. Figure 9-14 shows an example of the content of the rail-oriented display panel, including the next four departures from Baltimore/ Washington International Airport to that destination. If the user has entered the destination by choosing a rail station specifically, the rail-oriented display panel opens first, and hyperlinks to more information are provided for the other modes. The hyperlink for automobile directions transfers the user to MapQuest, where the origin âBWI Airportâ has already been entered in the request form. Passenger Information Provided by Other Agencies The program is still under development, and the project managers are now working on the issue of transfer to automated originâdestination trip itinerary planners operating in areas adjacent to the airport. Ultimately, the user could be satisfied with the station-to-station level routing advice given directly by the program or choose to go to a more detailed door-to-door itinerary trip plan- ning system for his/her specified destination. Getting Ground Access Information to the Traveler 193
SOURCE: Beta testing version of BWI system under development by the I-95 Corridor Coalition. Figure 9-13. The BWI ground access module allows the user to click on any destination on the interactive map, which produces options by automobile, taxi, van, and rail services. SOURCE: Beta testing version of BWI system under development by the I-95 Corridor Coalition. Figure 9-14. The airport user seeking rail information is presented with trips from BWI to the nearest commuter rail, light rail, and Amtrak stations.
Getting Ground Access Information to the Traveler 195 At a later point in development, the beta testing module will be put into operation for all trips to the airport. Later research will explore the challenges of offering such an airport-based trip itinerary planning system via cell phone with screen use and via telephone without the assump- tion of the ability to use screens. Conclusions In many cases, the potential users of public mode services simply do not know that high-quality alternatives to the automobile and taxi exist. The U.S. transit industry is now in the process of adopting highly effective originâdestination trip itinerary planning systems that show how any given trip, such as one to or from the airport, can be accomplished by public transportation. In Europe, these programs have been applied on a nationwide and even international scale. As yet, the full integration of ground transportation information with aviation-based passenger infor- mation has yet to be implemented anywhere. Planners implementing information systems should consider the needs of later systems that truly integrate information for all modes and pro- vide for immediate tickets sales for all segments of the longer distance trip.