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4 Sustainability at Airports The concept of sustainability first emerged in the environmental lexicon in 1987, when the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development used the term âsustainable development.â The Commission defined sustainable development as development that âmeets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (World Commission on Environment and Development 1987).â Since then, the definition of sustainability has broadened beyond environmental concerns and has been tailored to fit a variety of contexts and applications. One consistent thread throughout these transformations has been an emphasis on balancing three key components: environmen- tal stewardship, economic development, and social responsibility. These three components are often collectively known as the triple bottom line and are expressed in differing ways, such as people, planet, and profit; or people, planet, and prosperity. The airport industry has coalesced around a sustainability framework building off the triple bottom line concept and incorporating the importance of operational efficiency. This framework is called EONS, which stands for economic vitality, operational efficiency, natural resources, and social responsibility. EONS has emerged as an industry-wide baseline framework for character- izing sustainability at airports (see Figure 1) (Sustainable Aviation Guidance Alliance 2017). While some airports implement sustainability initiatives on an ad-hoc basis and may not use the âsustainabilityâ moniker, others are increasingly formalizing their efforts. This formalization may include standalone sustainability plans or reports, the incorporation of sustainability into existing master planning efforts, or other organizational sustainability programs. Oftentimes environmental divisions within airports serve as the initiators of sustainability activities, but over time additional airport staff are engaged as initiatives expand to capture the benefits of the non-environmental components of sustainability. The FAA encouraged the integration of sustainability concepts within long-range planning through its Sustainable Master Plan Pilot Program initiated in 2010. The goal of the program was âto help airports achieve their planning and operational objectives while reducing envi- ronmental impacts, achieving environmental benefits, and improving relationships with local communities (FAA 2012).â The program provided grants to airports to develop either a Sustain- ability Master Plan or Sustainable Management Plan. As of 2017, grants have been provided to 44 airports through the program (FAA 2017a). The two study types funded by the FAA can be distinguished by their focus on development versus management. The Port of Seattle charac- terizes their Sustainable Airport Master Plan as focused on what and where it builds, whereas management plans often focus on how an airport manages its operations and how it builds. Thinking about the two different types of sustainability plans through this lens, a Sustainable Management Plan is the highest level at which an airport can adopt a sustainable approach, after C H A P T E R 1 Background and Objectives
Background and Objectives 5 which sustainability measures subsequently get incorporated within planning documents (such as a Master Plan). In this document, the acronym SMP is used exclusively to refer to a Sustainable (or Sustainability) Management Plan, not a Sustainable Master Plan. ACRP has also helped shape the state of the practice of sustainability at airports, by funding research and disseminating information about sustainability drivers, guidelines, and effective practices. Completed ACRP projects on this topic include ACRP Synthesis 10: Airport Sustain- ability Practices; ACRP Report 42: Sustainable Airport Construction Practices; ACRP Report 80: Guidebook for Incorporating Sustainability into Traditional Airport Projects; ACRP Report 110: Evaluating Impacts of Sustainability Practices on Airport Operations and Maintenance; and ACRP Report 119: Prototype Airport Sustainability Rating SystemâCharacteristics, Viability, and Imple- mentation Options. Airport Capacity Constraints Globally, the number of passengers carried via air transport has increased nearly twelve- fold from 1970 to 2016 (World Bank 2017). In the United States alone, the number of air transport passengers has increased more than five-fold during that same timeframe, with 822,949,000 passengers in 2016 (World Bank 2017). FAA forecasts U.S. carrier passenger growth to average 1.9% per year from 2017 to 2037 and projects revenue passenger miles to increase by 2.4% per year in the same timeframe (FAA 2017b). As demand for air travel has grown over the last several decades and is pro- jected to continue doing so, airports have had to increase capacity to keep up with the growth. Capacity-enhancement in the airport context can be defined in numerous ways and take many different forms. Throughout the report, an increase in âcapacityâ is generally defined as the increase in the ability of airport facilities and systems to process passengers or cargo, as opposed to the narrower definition used in the context of air- port planning. Capacity in this broad sense can be enhanced at airports through infrastructure development, operational improvements, or changes to non-aeronautical airport services. Examples of strategies Figure 1. EONS framework of sustainability (Source: Sustainable Aviation Guidance Alliance). Throughout this report, an increase in âcapacityâ is generally defined as an increase in the ability of airport facilities and systems to process passengers or cargo, as opposed to the narrower definition used in the context of airport planning.
6 Sustainabilityâs Role in Enhancing Airport Capacity used to increase capacity include the construction of new runways, terminals, or taxiways; air- port facility improvements and modernization; integration with local and regional multimodal infrastructure; and operational efficiencies such as increased automation or consolidation of redundant systems. The variety of projects featured in this report highlights the breadth of capacity-enhancement project types. The type of capacity being enhanced is indicated within each case example featured in the report. The FAA launched the Future Airport Capacity Task (FACT) in 2003 to assess future airport capacity needs nationwide. Through this effort, the FAA has released three reports: FACT1 in 2004, FACT2 in 2007, and FACT3 in 2015. The most recent report, FACT3, looked at airport capacity constraints and congestion through 2020 and 2030. Using a screening method to focus on the airports with the most potential for impact on the efficiency of the National Airspace Sys- tem (NAS), 48 U.S. airports were included. Personnel at five of these airports were interviewed and included in this synthesis report. FACT3 analyzed information about demand forecasts in combination with planned improvements at these airports to determine which would still require capacity enhancements even after the improvements were in place. The study found five airports that would be significantly capacity constrained by 2020, and nine by 2030, even after planned improvements were implemented (these airports are not featured in this report). Through the analysis conducted through FACT3, the FAA concluded that âcontinued efforts to identify solutions, such as new runways, regional emphasis, congestion management, multi- modal transportation, and NextGen [short for Next Generation Air Transportation System] are essentialâ (FAA 2015a). While the FACT reports provide a large-scale view of where capacity constraints are anticipated, each airport must undergo its own analysis of anticipated future conditions to determine any shortfalls in capacity. The capacity of an airport is determined by several factors: infrastructure such as runway length and terminal gates; airspace constraints; how the airport is managed operationally; and how passengers can flow through the terminals. The airportâs future growth and capacity needs can be affected or constrained by the factors previously noted, and are typically driven by the local environment and the regionâs economic performance (Upham et al. 2003; FAA 2014). Analysis at the airport level is done through an airport Master Plan, which is a comprehensive study of the airport that is periodically updated and typically describes short-, medium-, and long-term plans for airport development (FAA 2015b). If the study reveals capacity enhancements are necessary, airports include development plans in their Master Plan and Airport Layout Plan. The underlying growth that tends to drive airport capacity-enhancement projects can solicit strong reactions from neighboring communities due to potential impacts on noise, land use, traffic, air quality, and the local economy. Engaging the public in the planning of such projects can address concerns and convey benefits. The FAA indicates that airport planning processes âshould provide suitable opportunities for participation by the publicâ (FAA 2015c), and pro- vides guidelines for involving the public for the three primary planning processes airports use: Master Plans (FAA 2015b); Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 150 (14 CFR Part 150) noise compatibility plan development (Code of Federal Regulations 1984); and evaluations under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), such as Environmental Assess- ments (EAs), and Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) (FAA 2006). Sustainability and Capacity Enhancement Sustainability can be applied across multiple facets of airport operations, from planning, design, and construction to human resources. The role of sustainability within airport capac- ity-enhancing projects is of particular interest because these projects provide an important
Background and Objectives 7 opportunity to harness synergistic improvements while taking advantage of operational effi- ciencies and minimizing impacts. There are numerous sustainability benefits that can be real- ized through development and implementation of capacity-enhancing projects. These benefits include cost savings, risk mitigation, reduced resource consumption, lower pollutant emissions, additional revenue sources, and a more positive airport reputation. Highlighting sustainability efforts may also influence the level of engagement and support from stakeholdersâincluding airport staff, airport tenants, community members, and regula- tory agencies. Figure 2 provides examples of the various internal and external stakeholders of an airport. In this report, the terms âcommunityâ or âcommunity membersâ refer to exter- nal stakeholders that reside within the neighboring areas of the airport. Capacity-enhancing projects provide airports with opportunities to translate sustainability policies into practice, through strategies such as environmentally friendly design, collaborative stakeholder engage- ment and decision-making, job creation, community involvement, and enhanced customer service. Furthermore, incorporating sustainability concepts in capacity-enhancing projects can set the tone for how an airport values environmental stewardship, economic development, and social responsibility. Although requirements for environmental evaluations and public involvement exist for projects that are subject to NEPA, the ways in which airports approach these requirements can affect the support projects receive. Going âbeyond complianceâ to proactively incorporate sus- tainability can generate even more goodwill with key stakeholders. A study conducted with a representative sample of aviation and airport industry stakeholders in the United Kingdom concluded that given a range of airport development scenarios, respondents found the scenario Figure 2. Examples of various airport stakeholders (Source: Virginia Airports Sustainability Management Plan 2006).
8 Sustainabilityâs Role in Enhancing Airport Capacity that was the most energy efficient and incorporated more renewable energy was considered to be more sustainable, cost effective, and feasible (Kaszewski and Sheate 2004). Stakeholder engagement can contribute to airport development being sustainable as it draws on a wide range of parties increases, thus increasing the likelihood of community acceptance of the development, and establishing a mutually beneficial commitment to achieving objectives. When stakeholders are brought into the process, they believe they are a part of the development, thus gaining their consensus for future development. The development process is also seen as more transparent and inclusive, and the airport is seen as responsive and accountable by local communities (Thomas and Lever 2003). Sustainability champions work to implement sustainability concepts in capacity-enhancing projects in many different ways. For a terminal development project, for example, sustain- ability has been incorporated by working with new concessionaires not only to build out their spaces to be energy- and resource-efficient, but also to ensure their offerings reflect the culture of the local community and enhance revenue. With new runways or extensions, sustainability has been incorporated through the responsible management and recycling of construction waste, as well as proactive outreach to surrounding communities to discuss impacts of the proj- ect and collaborate on ways to minimize the challenges while optimizing the benefits. Incor- porating sustainability measures into capacity-enhancing projects, combined with productive community engagement, can lead to better outcomes and greater stakeholder acceptance of projects. Conversely, there are examples of projects that have been delayed or stalled because of a lack of focus on sustainability issues, especially those issues that concern the environment or the surrounding community (Ahrens 2014). Research Process Research Objective The objective of this research is to compile information and examples that successfully demonstrate the value of building sustainability concepts into capacity-enhancing projects, and describe additional resources and tools that provide guidance on how to select, apply, and communicate sustainability measures. The intended audience is airport leaders and their teams working on capacity-enhancing projects. In particular, airport decision-makers seeking further understanding of the value of including sustainability are encouraged to review the report. This research focused on commercial service airports; however, the main themes, lessons, and tools are applicable to airports of all sizes. Synthesis Process This synthesis was developed by first identifying airport capacity-enhancing projects that incorporated sustainability concepts. Projects were not restricted to capital construction proj- ects; they included (a) operational or efficiency changes and (b) process and policy changes. Once projects were identified, the Research Team reached out to contacts at the airports to solicit participation in the research and interview process. The Research Team held interviews with personnel from seven commercial service airports, using a pre-developed set of questions to guide the discussions. Concurrently with conducting the interviews, the Research Team reviewed project-related literature that addressed the role of sustainability in airport capacity- enhancing projects and the community outreach strategies used to convey sustainabilityâs role. The Research Team used the findings from the interviews, supplemented by resources provided by the airport contacts or other publicly available resources, to develop case examples detail- ing the ways in which sustainability concepts were incorporated into each project and how this
Background and Objectives 9 incorporation was communicated to stakeholders, such as airport staff, airport tenants, the com- munity, and regulatory agencies. Organization of Report The following chapters present results and analysis from the interviews and literature search. Chapter 2 describes the method used to identify airport case examples, obtain relevant resources to inform the research, and establish the interview process. Chapter 3 provides the key outcomes from the interviews, presented as airport-specific case examples. Chapter 4 presents an analysis and summation of the interview and literature search findings. Chapter 5 provides conclusions and suggestions for future research. The report also includes five appen- dices. Appendix A provides a newly developed, preliminary checklist intended to be further refined as a tool for airports staff to consult as they are planning capacity-enhancing projects. Appendix B suggests resources and tools to guide airport staff seeking to integrate sustainabil- ity concepts within capacity-enhancing projects. Appendix C details information about which airport contacts were interviewed and when. Appendix D provides the questions that were used during the interviews with airport personnel. Finally, Appendix E contains a newly developed, executive-level PowerPoint presentation that focuses on the âwhyâ behind incorporating sustainability into capacity-enhancing projects. Appendix E can be found on the TRB website (www.trb.org) by searching for âACRP Synthesis 93.â