National Academies Press: OpenBook

Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation (2008)

Chapter: Chapter 10 - Further Research

« Previous: Chapter 9 - Getting Ground Access Information to the Traveler
Page 196
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 10 - Further Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2008. Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13918.
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Page 196
Page 197
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 10 - Further Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2008. Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13918.
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Page 197
Page 198
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 10 - Further Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2008. Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13918.
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Page 198

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As ACRP is well under way, many major research tasks have now been identified. This brief sec- tion deals with subjects that could receive additional research attention, to augment the research now under way. The recommendations for further research are categorized by the process described in Chapter 1. Step 1: Establish the Public Policy Goals for Airport Ground Access Concerning the many factors relevant to Step 1, the researchers believe that ACRP, NCHRP, and TCRP could work together to help understand the nature of the collaborative, multijuris- dictional decision-making process that characterizes the early phases of airport access planning. Questions arise such as: • Who are the champions? • What are examples of collaborative strategies? • What are the best practices in establishment of a genuinely multimodal planning process? An early product of such a research effort (whether by ACRP, NCHRP, or TCRP) might be bet- ter documentation of the role of FAA-sponsored planning efforts within the traditional MPOs. The program has been well established in major MPOs, but the activities of the aviation planners are not always well understood by the rest of the transportation planning community. Such a study could examine the effectiveness of the existing planning program and make recommendations for strength- ening the link between aviation planning and traditional metropolitan transportation planning. Step 2: Undertake the Program for Data Gathering and System Monitoring The ACRP has already announced a major study to support the creation of improved airport access surveys and methods (ACRP Project 03-04), which was an implicit recommendation stemming from Step 2. At this time, it is still unclear if any research program is adequately addressing the issue of basic data in support of the study of the travel patterns of airport employees. As shown in Chapter 8, the basic data available to support the examination of employee travel behavior is out of date and highly inconsistent in format and content. The researchers highly recommend that employee travel to airports be raised in priority for immediate research. Finally, the valuable work once undertaken by the American Travel Survey is not currently being funded by the U.S. DOT. A fundamental observation of this report is that the behavior and 196 C H A P T E R 1 0 Further Research

transportation choices made by the long-distance traveler are fundamentally different from those made by the same person in day-to-day metropolitan travel. The researchers strongly recommend that the subject matter originally covered by the American Travel Survey be recom- menced by some agency of the U.S. DOT. Step 3: Understand the Markets Revealed and Their Relationship to Candidate Solutions This report has suggested that there are three categories of demand for airport ground access. First, there is the traditional, high-density market that gets attention when capital-intensive solu- tions such as rail are discussed. This report has presented a significant amount of information about such services between airports and traditional downtowns. Another category of market demand is that of the lowest density category, in which trips often start by automobile to major park-and-ride facilities served by dedicated airport buses; this category of market demand is being extensively documented in ACRP Project 10-02, “Planning Guide for Offsite Terminals.” By contrast, comparatively little analysis exists about the third market category described in this report, the middle-density market often served by shared-ride vehicles. Some airports, such as Los Angeles International Airport, have provided a disciplined program to limit the number of shuttle van companies competing for this market, while other airports have failed to provide this essential direction. More research should be undertaken to help airport managers understand what powers they do and do not have over these important operations. New hybrid service can offer scheduled services to specific destinations (such as hotels) and continue on with pre-arranged on-demand ser- vices to other destinations. For most U.S. airports, this market category is often the largest segment of the full market with comparatively little known about the nature of demand therein. In addition, the researchers recommend that the study of airport ground access alternatives be widened to include the smaller U.S. airports. In many cases, the managers of smaller airports are willing to participate in programs to encourage high-occupancy solutions, but very little guidance is available. Options such as shared-ride taxis need to be explored for their application at the mid-sized and smaller U.S. airports. Step 4: Design a Program of Services and Strategies for Airport Ground Access Without question, rubber-tired public transportation vehicles will remain the dominant pub- lic transportation access mode in the United States. It is surprising, then, to see so little attention paid to either the fully developed program of bus rapid transit or even the smaller steps of HOV planning for major U.S. airports. At present, only one such airport program exists, the Silver Line to Boston’s airport. Similarly, the number of airport buses successfully utilizing HOV lanes is small; major positive examples are at Los Angeles International Airport and, to a lesser extent, Boston’s airport. For some reason, bus rapid transit options do not survive in the planning process for airport ground access, where rail solutions are almost always recommended. The researchers recommend that more attention be paid to advanced bus design options, including low-floor entry for ease of travelers carrying baggage. Such systems are commonplace around the world but have rarely been applied at major airports. Step 5: Manage the Airport to Encourage Higher Occupancy At present, the ACRP has under way an innovative study of alternative terminal configurations (ACRP Project 07-01), which marks a major change from the traditional approach to airport Further Research 197

design, an approach that did not give high priority to the public transportation/HOV implica- tions of the design process. While a major concern of this airport terminal study is security, options are being examined in which “landside processing” is separated from “airside process- ing”; within this concept could be major new roles of airport ground access systems. While this study is proceeding, airports such as Los Angeles International Airport may be facing the possi- bility of major reconfiguration of existing terminal facilities. The research into terminal design concepts needs to be closely coordinated with advanced airport ground access concepts. Step 6: Present the Ground Access Services to the Traveler The researchers recommend to the ACRP that a study be undertaken to create a standard approach to presenting ground access information on airport websites. Chapter 9 clearly shows that many U.S. airports have developed major programs for providing ground access services, but there is no common format for presenting these services to the public on airport websites and other electronic media. While many U.S. airports have made, or are considering making, major capital investments to improve public mode access, no consistent format has been put forward for quickly and effectively presenting viable ground access travel options to the traveler. While many metropolitan areas are developing “511” advanced traveler information systems, to date none of those systems have incorporated travel modes that are specific to the users of the airports. The Airports Council International–North America has identified a need for airports to work together to create a common set of procedures for presenting ground access informa- tion. Optimally, the traveler who has become accustomed to the method of attaining ground access information in one U.S. airport would quickly and efficiently be able to access similar information at an airport with which he/she was not familiar. The objective of the proposed research would be to help the airport community develop a com- mon format for presenting all ground transportation options to the traveling public, particularly to the non-resident market. If many of the large airports adopted a common format, the process of presenting ground transportation services to new travelers at an airport could become more efficient, and faster for the traveler. Possibly, the adoption of a common set of procedures would eliminate the need for many airports to separately undertake the same market research and soft- ware development. The product would be both a set of guidelines for presenting ground access services and a working web-based prototype of such a system for possible adaptation for use at specific U.S. airports. The intent of the proposed research is not to create any form of mandatory “standard” for the individual airports to adopt; rather the research is intended to establish a common logic of information presentation that could be used as each individual airport updates its existing websites. 198 Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation

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TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Report 4: Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation examines key elements associated with the creation of a six-step market-based strategy for improving the quality of public mode services at U.S. airports. The report also addresses the context for public transportation to major airports, explores the attributes of successful airport ground access systems, presents an airport by airport summary of air traveler ground access mode-share by public transportation services, and more.

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