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89 This chapter relates to steps 5 and 6 of the APM planning process described in Chapter 5 and depicted in Figure 9-1. Defining the optimum APM system for a given airport applica- tion is an iterative process, as described in the previous chapter. Throughout that process there are overall project justification and feasibility issues that must be considered. Some can be considered early in the APM definition process, while others are better considered when the APM system is well defined. This chapter describes these justifications and feasibility issues that should be considered (assessed) during the project defini- tion so as to ensure that the project is justified and any project aspects that are not feasible are identified as soon as possible. 9.1 Ongoing Project Requirements and Approvals As the APM planning process proceeds through steps 1 to 4 and the preferred APM alternative is defined, other final issues must be addressed in order to establish the overall fea- sibility of the project. These final issues are addressed below. Comparison with other modesâIt is recommended that an APM solution be compared with other possible mode choices in order to assure the airport that the APM is truly the best choice for the application. If this was not done by including multiple modes in step 2 of the APM planning process, it may be done at this stage. Construction feasibilityâThis focuses on the construct- ability of a proposed alignment. Although hypotheti- cally desirable, an alignment may be determined to be physically infeasible because of tunneling issues, foun- dation issues, and/or elevated structural issues. Inter- faces of the proposed APM alignment and stations with other facilities are other areas with potential construct- ability issues. Securing of permits and licensesâWhere appropriate, construction permits and licenses must be arranged. Coordination with affected agenciesâConstruction of an APM requires a great deal of multi-disciplinary and inter- agency coordination. All of the affected agencies must be identified and processes established to engage those enti- ties, keep them informed, and obtain their cooperation. Jurisdictional approvalâThe preferred system must be approved by the sponsoring organization. This may be a city council, airport board of directors, authority board of directors, or other organizational entity. Assuming that these ongoing project requirements are met and project approvals are obtained during the preferred APM alternative definition, then there are still a number of issues to be addressed in establishing overall project feasibility. These issues deal with the following questions: â¢ Is the APM project justified? â¢ Is the APM project affordable? â¢ Is the APM projectâs environmental impact acceptable? These final issues in the APM planning process are addressed in the subsequent sections of this chapter. 9.2 CostâBenefit Analysis Developing a robust justification for an APM system is an important and challenging exercise that takes into account the systemâs costs and benefits. This section is intended to be introductory to this topic and is not a detailed guide to costâ benefit analysis since numerous literature exists on the topic in general and for transportation in particular. Quantitatively estimating the cost side of a justification analysis is possible using the information developed in step 4 of the APM plan- ning process (see Figure 9-1). However, quantifying the ben- efit side of the comparison is more difficult and varies by airport. Understanding the specific airportâs goals and objec- tives is the key to quantifying benefits. The benefits are often C H A P T E R 9 Project Coordination, Justification, and Feasibility
Level-of-Service Decision-Making Flow Key: Process Data Output Start/ End Planning Process Decision-Making Flow APM Benefits Alignment Stations Guideway/ROW Capital Costs Operations & Maintenance Costs CostâBenefit Analysis Financial Strategies Power Distribution Command, Control, and Communications Ridership System Capacity NEED System Level of Service Evaluate System Level of Service Evaluate System Level-of-Service Measures Environmental Final Design Procurement Defined APM System Functions Served Service Reqâts. Maintenance Facility Walk & Time Thresholds Source: Lea+Elliott, Inc. Figure 9-1. General APM planning process.
a function of the APMâs level of service (improved frequency, shorter connect times, etc.) that will have been identified in steps 2 through 4 of the APM planning process. Benefits from an APM system accrue to the riders in the form of time savings. Estimating ridership time savings involves plac- ing a value on the time of each class of rider. These same time- saving benefits accrue to airports through more efficient throughput, whether it is the landside or airside of the facility. Landside APMs reduce O&D parking demand and airport roadway congestion, and under certain configurations can enable the airport to process more transfer passengers between terminals. The benefits for the general public are in the form of reduced noise, reduced air pollution, and improved visual appearance, as well as other, more intangible factors. Public benefits such as reduced noise and air pollution, and intangi- ble factors such as appearance, should be estimated. Airside APMs allow airports to operate with a significantly larger number of gates, thereby enhancing inter- and intra- terminal throughput capacities. In this case, an APM may be the only way an airport can achieve its desired growth (num- ber of gates), and rather than a cost/benefit comparison, it becomes an affordability issue. Whether a landside or airside APM system, all benefits and costs affecting the aviation public or attributed to the airport must be considered and evaluated in the analysis. This includes monetary gains (e.g., lower operating costs) and reductions in non-monetary elements (e.g., travel time, environmental impacts). 9.2.1 Approach and Methodology The FAA has developed a document entitled FAA Airport BenefitâCost Analysis Guidance for use under its Airport Improvement Program (AIP). Its stated purpose is to provide clear and thorough guidance to airport sponsors on the conduct of project-level benefitâcost analysis (BCA) for capacity-related airport projects. Under the AIP, airport capacity projects meet- ing a threshold of $5 million or more in discretionary grant funding over the life of the project must be shown to have total discounted benefits that exceed total discounted costs. While this guidance document outlines the critical areas of concern and the methodologies required to conduct a com- prehensive BCA, airport sponsors are also encouraged to make use of innovative methods for quantifying benefits and costs where these methods can be shown to yield superior measures of project merit. The FAA document outlines a multi-step process for con- ducting a proper costâbenefit analysis. The steps are as follows: â¢ Define project objectives; â¢ Specify assumptions about future airport conditions; â¢ Identify the base case (no investment scenario); â¢ Identify and screen all reasonable alternatives to meet objectives; â¢ Determine appropriate evaluation period; â¢ Establish reasonable level of effort for analysis; â¢ Identify, quantify, and evaluate benefits and costs of alter- natives relative to base case; â¢ Measure impact of alternatives on airport use; â¢ Compare benefits and costs of alternatives; â¢ Evaluate variability of costâbenefit estimates; â¢ Perform distributional assessment when warranted; and â¢ Make recommendation of best course of action. TCRP Report 78: Estimating the Benefits and Costs of Public Transit Projects is another excellent reference on this topic. That report is written as a guidebook to practitioners as well. 9.2.2 Landside versus Airside Considerations Landside Considerations As discussed in the FAA document, efficient landside access to airports is vital to the perceived utility of air transportation. Access projects such as a landside APM may yield important benefits. These benefits may reduce landside delays for pas- sengers, meeters/greeters, cargo shippers, and airport/airline employees attempting to access the airport by automobile, bus, taxi, or rail. Efficient landside access benefits passengers, meeters/ greeters, and cargo shippers because of reduced transit and vehicle hours resulting from less time spent in congested conditions. Passengers, meeters/greeters, cargo shippers, and airport/airline employees may also be able to schedule travel time more efficiently because they no longer have to allow time for airport road or parking congestion. Landside congestion may also be alleviated if passengers were able to arrive closer to departure times. Other potential benefits include reduced automobile emissions (due to fewer automobiles and trucks tied up in congested conditions), improved safety (for persons in vehicles and airport pedestrians), and lower operating and maintenance costs (due to less employee time spent in con- gestion while traveling on the airport grounds). Airside Considerations An important part of any costâbenefit exercise is to cate- gorize the impacts (the costs and benefits) of the passenger conveyance options under consideration. An airside APM provides the airport with benefits from efficient inter- and intra-terminal conveyance that overcomes excessive walk dis- tances and provides easy access between and within passenger 91
terminal facilities. In some cases, such systems may eliminate the need for vertical conveyance such as elevators and escala- tors and facilitate the use of wheelchairs and passenger assist vehicles. An airside APM also improves throughput by accom- modating luggage and minimizing the effects of personal space preferences by passengers. Summary The specifics of the analysis vary somewhat between airside APMs and landside APMs. In spite of these differences, the general steps of an airside or landside APM costâbenefit analy- sis are similar and can be summarized as follows: 1. Describe the impacts (costs and benefits) applicable to each system user/stakeholder, their relative importance, and the level of their measurement and evaluation; 2. Determine the ability to measure and monetize impacts and ensure against double counting; 3. Analyze and determine the applicable units for each of the impacts, and monetize when reasonable; 4. Convert the future monetary values of costs and benefits into present value and sum the two to estimate a net value; 5. Quantify (or if not quantifiable, list and describe) the non- monetized impacts; and 6. Combine the monetized and non-monetized impacts into a summary evaluation matrix with each impact given a rel- ative weight or priority. 9.2.3 The Value of Time in Passenger Transportation While estimating the cost side of a costâbenefit comparison is relatively straightforward, the benefit side can, in many cases, be complicated. The analysis of both landside and airside access and circulation necessitates the assessment of delayed benefits. Such benefits can be calculated by determining the value of travel-time savings. Values can be calculated by conducting analyses based on the costs contained in the FAAâs Office of Aviation Policy and Plans bulletin entitled Treatment of Value of Passenger Time in Economic Analysis. The treatment in this document is based on long-standing research on air passenger travel. The basic findings are as follows: â¢ Given the distance traveled and the price of time, a theo- retical model predicts the logical passenger choice among air, rail, and bus transportation. â¢ Business travelers behave as if their price of time is approx- imately equal to their hourly earnings; the price of time of personal travelers appears to be considerably lower. â¢ The value of time to an individual may vary not only with the purpose of the trip, but may also with its length, time of day, and other factors. â¢ Moreover, the value of time saved in travel may be differ- ent for different individuals even when hourly earnings are identical. â¢ The application of these techniques and estimates to spe- cific problems requires additional empirical information relevant to the particular problem under study. The costâbenefit analysis methodology suggested for both ground access and inter- and intra-terminal access projects in the FAA guidance document calls for the quantification of delay reduction. This is accomplished by comparing modes. Landside quantification occurs through the use of automo- bile traffic simulation models, where the analysis considers capacity and peak factors while focusing on vehicle and pas- senger volumes. Airside quantification occurs through the use of queuing models to simulate reductions in delays incurred by passengers moving through terminals. 9.2.4 Cost Estimates Impact on the Project Feasibility Although planning cost estimates are intended primarily to compare the relative cost differences among the various alter- natives, it is important to realize that airport executives may use early cost estimates to establish an order-of-magnitude range for the cost of the project. Early cost estimates are often used by airport officials to determine an upper threshold for project approval. The ultimate goal of the planning process is to provide an executive-level summary of the system requirements, various alternatives, resulting costs, and major issues to be considered in the APM planning process. For this reason, it is appropri- ate to develop one or more budgetary cost estimates to estab- lish an accurate range of costs as part of the alternative analysis process. Prior to developing any planning cost estimates, airport planners and their cost estimators should become very famil- iar with the entire budget development process. Although many of the cost drivers will not affect the alternative analy- sis process, each of these elements should be evaluated with respect to the impact on the decision-making process. O&M cost estimates are one of the most important APM planning analyses since an inaccurate estimate can have significant repercussions. It is recommended that the estimate be com- pared with current O&M costs for existing airport APMs that are similar in nature. 9.3 Funding and Finance The APM system capital and O&M costs will have been estimated in step 4 of the planning process. A funding analy- sis determines if these costs are affordable. Airport APM sys- 92
tems are typically publicly owned and financed. As a result, the airportâs APM financing strategies involve one or more of the commonly used public financing tools. This section pres- ents an overview of factors and potential funding sources for airport planners to consider in developing financing strate- gies for the implementation of an airport APM system. 9.3.1 Potential Funding Sources The following are sources of funding typically used by air- port operators in the United States to finance large capital projects, including APM systems. These funding sources could be applied individually or in combination to fund an airport APM system. Airport Improvement ProgramâThe FAA administers the AIP program, which provides grant assistance to public- use airports for capital improvements that enhance safety, capacity, security, or the environment. Passenger Facility Charges (PFCs)âPFCs are part of a federal program administered by the FAA in which air- port operators apply for authorization to collect and use PFCs to fund eligible projects. The FAA summa- rizes: âThe Passenger Facility Charge Program allows the collection of PFC fees up to $4.50 for every enplaned passenger at commercial airports controlled by public agencies. Airports use these fees to fund FAA-approved projects that enhance safety, security, or capacity; reduce noise; or increase air carrier competition.â Applications to the FAA for the use of PFC funds to build APM systems on the landside of the airport have seen limitations enforced by FAA when the APM system extends to facilities that are off airport property. The FAA has strictly interpreted the intent of PFC use to be limited to serving only airport users, and primarily air passengers. When capacity of the landside is an issue and APM systems can serve to increase the capacity by connecting with off-airport transportation facilities, then FAA has been willing to consider partially funding the system and facilities with PFCs (subject to assurances from the air- port that the APM ridership will primarily comprise air passengers). Examples of PFC-funded landside APM sys- tems are those with off-airport extensions that connect the terminals with nearby intermodal transit stations at airports, such as New YorkâJFK, NewarkâEWR, Miami International (future), and Phoenix (future). Other exam- ples of airport APM systems that extend off of airport property and that have been built using PFC funding are those that connect to a consolidated rental car facility. Examples of this type of functional connection are Atlanta and Miami (future). If the connection between the off-airport station is such that only airport users would ride the APM system between the airport terminals, the landside facilities, and the remote station, then use of PFC has been approved by FAA, but typically at a reduced level compared to strictly on-airport projects. Airport-generated revenuesâAirports generate revenues from various sources, including airline landing fees, vehi- cle parking, rental car and terminal concession operators, off-airport commercial vehicle access fees, and customer facility charges (CFCs) from users of rental car facilities. Airport revenue bondsâProceeds from the sale of revenue bonds are the most common form of financing used by airport operators for large capital improvement projects. Other forms of financeâOther, less common, forms of finance available for airport projects are general obliga- tion bonds backed by local tax revenues, special facility bonds backed by commitments from facility users, and commercial paper. Publicâprivate partnership (P3)âP3s (or PPPs) are a growing method of implementing transportation infra- structure in which a private venture will typically finance, design, build, and operate/maintain a facility or system in exchange for a guaranteed revenue stream and/or devel- opment rights from the public entity to cover debt service and other costs. Real estate development and value enhancementâ Landside airport APMs can positively affect the value (sales price, rental rates, etc.) of commercial property at the airport. Value enhancement can come in terms of improving connection time/ease between parking and terminals, or in terms of linking airport property to the regional rail system. 9.3.2 Financing Strategy Considerations Airport APM systems are typically publicly owned and financed. As a result, the airportâs APM financing strategies involve one or more of the commonly used public financing tools. The following are factors to consider in aligning the sources described above to develop a financing strategy for an airport APM system. Structure of the project and AIP and PFC eligibilityâ Airside and landside APMs that operate exclusively within airport boundaries and carry only airport users have gen- erally been eligible for FAA AIP and/or PFC funding. Airline agreementsâMany operating agreements between airlines and airport operators include provisions whereby certain airport expenditures, including use of airport revenues on capital improvements, require approval by a majority of the airlines signatory to the agreement. 93
Landside APM systems linking to revenue generating facilitiesâAn option in cases where landside APM sys- tems link terminals with parking and rental car facilities is to apply a portion of the revenue generated by these facilities to cover the debt service or O&M costs for an APM system, particularly if the APM replaces a shuttle bus operation. Multi-tiered debt structureâInterest rates and debt cover- age requirements can vary for different forms of finance (debt coverage or ratio of revenue to annual debt service). Project phasingâIn cases where funds are limited but the need is great, the airport operator may consider imple- menting the minimum operable segment of an APM system (the one that provides the greatest benefits from a level-of-service perspective and/or is the most feasible from a cost and financial point of view), postponing the remainder of the planned APM system. This requires a good system staging plan and will increase the costs of each segment and the overall system. 9.4 Environmental Impacts 9.4.1 Environmental Considerations At this point in the planning process, the APM has been defined to the appropriate level so that the subsequent cost estimates and funding analysis has shown the APM to be affordable. Another issue that must be considered at this point is whether the environmental impact is acceptable. The design, construction, and operation of APMs is not cov- ered in detail in environmental guidance by the FAA, FTA, or Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and as such falls under different regulatory jurisdictions depending on the design and implementation of the system, maintenance facil- ities, and power distribution systems. The construction of on- and off-site facilities usually dictates which guidance to follow; however, the same elements are necessary to document regard- less of the approving agency. FAA Orders 1050 and 5050 pro- vide guidance on the type and extent of analysis required for the various categories of environmental impacts. In the United States, some states are very active in the envi- ronmental review and permitting of airport development projects; other states are not. Some states have a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)-like review, which mir- rors but is not exactly the same as the federal process. Some have no NEPA-like reviews, but do have state requirements and/or permits covering certain types of impacts (e.g., air quality, water quality, coastal resources, and state-listed endan- gered and threatened species). State environmental reviews can add complexity and time to the overall environmental review process. It is FAA policy and practice to combine federal and state environmental reviews to the extent possible in an envi- ronmental impact statement (EIS), or at least to have the reviews running concurrently rather than sequentially. On-Site Considerations When constructing an APM within the confines of the air- port, the environmental considerations become a part of the larger environmental document prepared for the airport. Still, there are several considerations that will need to be documented in order for all elements of the APM to be accurately consid- ered during the NEPA mandated process. If the APM system is constructed outside of the purview of a larger airport environ- mental document, such as an EIS, then the governing agency may require an environmental assessment (EA) or supplemen- tal EISs, or they may simply state that the facility will qualify for a categorical exclusion (CE), depending on the scope of con- struction. Each of these environmental options will be decided on an individual basis; however, the FAA is fairly specific on when a CE can be filed and since on-site APMs typically are constructed on land that has already been improved (beyond the natural condition), CEs are a likely first step for APM con- struction and expansion. CEs are prepared when a proposed action meets the defi- nition contained in 40 CFR 1508.4, and, based on past expe- rience, does not involve significant environmental impacts. These actions are ones that: â¢ Do not induce significant impacts to planned growth or land use for the area; â¢ Do not require the relocation of significant numbers of people; â¢ Do not have a significant impact on any natural, cultural, recreational, historic, or other resource; â¢ Do not involve significant air, noise, or water quality impacts; â¢ Do not have significant impacts on travel patterns; and â¢ Do not otherwise, either individually or cumulatively, have any significant environmental impacts. Any action that normally would be classified as a CE but could involve unusual circumstances will require the federal agency, in cooperation with the applicant, to conduct appro- priate environmental studies to determine if the CE classifi- cation is proper. Such unusual circumstances include: â¢ Significant environmental impacts; â¢ Substantial controversy on environmental grounds; â¢ Significant impact on properties protected by Section 4(f) of the DOT Act or section 106 of the National Historic Preser- vation Act; or â¢ Inconsistencies with any federal, state, or local law, require- ment, or administrative determination relating to the envi- ronmental aspects of the action. 94
Off-Site Considerations The FTA has recognized APMs constructed to access off-site areas as a technology option that would fall under its purview for approval of environmental documentation. While the spon- soring agency for the specific project may be the FAA, the FTA will likely act in a reviewing capacity for APMs that are con- structed to access off-site locations. Additionally, the construc- tion of off-site APMs introduces a new realm of environmental consideration that may not have been previously examined, and as such a more detailed environmental analysis may be warranted. The application of a categorical exclusion becomes less likely as off-site improvements occur, given the introduction of additional sensitive receptors and potentially sensitive environmental areas. In addition, the noise levels for non- rubber-tire vehicles will begin to warrant analysis. An envi- ronmental assessment will likely be necessary for off-site APM construction unless the system is being linked to another mode of transit. If the APM is acting as an extension of another mode of transit, a supplemental EIS will likely be necessary. Information regarding the mapping of sensitive receptors and conducting noise and vibration impact analyses, as well as on the policies regarding the FTA acting in a review capacity, can be found in the FTA/FHWA joint guidance on environ- mental impacts. It is likely that the passage of future surface transportation authorization bills will require further clarifi- cations for off-site impact analyses that will be available at the FTA website. Coordination efforts between FAA and FTA will be required throughout the process of analyzing any proposed off-site improvements. Additionally, the FTA has made a noise impact calculator available to determine the distance of impact for various vehicle technologies, which will help in determin- ing the distance requirements for mapping sensitive receptors. 9.4.2 Environmental Assessments for APMs When the significance of impacts of a transportation project proposal is uncertain, an EA is prepared to assist in making this determination. An EA requires analysis and documentation similar to an EIS, but with less detail and coordination. Depend- ing on whether certain environmental thresholds of signifi- cance are exceeded, an EA will either lead to a finding of no significant impact (FONSI) or a requirement for the prepara- tion of an EIS. If it is found that significant impacts will result, the preparation of an EIS should commence immediately. In the case where the APM system is being planned for landside applications, especially when it will impact an off- airport community or when federal funds are used, the proj- ect may be subject to NEPA regulations. If so, the project may require preparation of an EIS and the obtaining of a record of decision (ROD) from the EPA. Alternatively, the project may not require a full EIS to be prepared, but only an environmen- tal assessment. Either way, these issues must be addressed in order to guarantee the ultimate feasibility of the project. 9.4.3 Preparation of an Environmental Assessment The outline and content of an EA must conform to the requirements established in the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations and the requirements of FAA Order 5050.4A. It is assumed that airport planners are well versed in the preparation of an EA; therefore, only APM- related issues are covered here. Key sections of the EA will include: AlternativesâThis section discusses the alternatives devel- oped as part of the environmental analysis, reviews the criteria used in the alternative evaluation, and identifies the alternatives eliminated from detailed consideration. Affected environmentâThis section provides a discussion of the environmental setting of the airport, discusses the current status of the airport facilities, and reviews the criteria to be used in the detailed analysis of the remain- ing alternatives (in the environmental consequences section). Environmental consequencesâThis section compares the environmental impacts of each reasonable alternative (identified under the alternatives section) in addition to the no-action alternative. This section considers the fol- lowing environmental impacts: â¢ Noise; â¢ Compatible land use; â¢ Social impacts; â¢ Induced socioeconomic impacts; â¢ Air quality; â¢ Water quality; â¢ Soils and geology; â¢ DOT, Section 4(f) Lands; â¢ Historic, architectural, archeological, and cultural resources; â¢ Biotic communities; â¢ Endangered and threatened species; â¢ Wetlands; â¢ Floodplains; â¢ Coastal zone management programs; â¢ Coastal barriers; â¢ Wild and scenic rivers; â¢ Farmlands; â¢ Energy supply and natural resources; â¢ Light emissions; â¢ Solid waste disposal; â¢ Sanitary waste; and â¢ Hazardous waste. 95
MitigationâThis section summarizes any necessary miti- gation options considered and the proposed mitigation plan for the preferred alternative. Additionally, the docu- mentation of construction-related mitigation strategies will be essential for APM facilities since elevated struc- tures will have higher noise and vibration impacts during the construction phase. The construction phase impacts, while not permanent, could be the largest impacts for APM projects. On- and Off-Site Impact Analyses The geographic scope of the project will determine the gov- ernment agencies that will have a role in the approval of an EA or EIS conducted for APMs. For on-site improvements utilizing only FAA funds, the FAA will likely be the sponsor- ing and reviewing agency. For on-site improvements where operating funds may come from an FTA or FHWA revenue source, they may desire to be a reviewing agency for on-site improvements; in such cases, coordination of the reviewing agencies will be a critical component of the environmental documentation process. Off-site improvements will likely require the involvement of at least the FAA and FTA; the FHWA may want to review as well, based on the nature of the project and the impacts to any federal-aid roads within the area. The United States Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) has drafted regu- lating language for conducting environmental analyses across multiple agencies and in conjunction with NEPA require- ments (23 CFR Part 771, Environmental Impact and Related Procedures). This guidance illustrates inter-agency review procedures and defines the roles that each agency plays when reviewing another agencyâs sponsored project. This guidance provides the best example of the flow of information during environmental reviews across multiple agencies to aid in com- pleting a supplemental EIS for projects that intersect another FTA- or FHWA-sponsored project. 96