National Academies Press: OpenBook

Simulation Options for Airport Planning (2019)

Chapter: Summary

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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Simulation Options for Airport Planning. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25573.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Simulation Options for Airport Planning. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25573.
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1 Airports are transportation hubs where several modes come together to transport pas- sengers, baggage, and cargo. Many airports also provide commercial outlets for products and services. In such a dynamic and interconnected environment, simulation plays an inte- gral role in the planning of operational and physical changes. Credible simulation projects can help airport administrators, designers, engineers, and planners estimate the impact of planned changes on passenger traffic, aircraft traffic, roadway traffic, baggage movements, and other subsystems such as bus and train links and aircraft ground support operations. To that end, the report from Airport Cooperative Research Program Project 11-03/ Topic S03-14 is the result of a study that focused on collecting and analyzing information on current industry practices and on applications of simulation tools for airport planning and design. The primary objective of this report is to support decision makers and practitioners with their selection of simulation tools based on their specific environment and project types. The report attempts to answer the following questions for airport planners as they endeavor to select the best and most appropriate tool: • Which simulation tools are available for my type of project? • Which simulation tools and methods have other airports of similar size, fleet mix, and other operating characteristics used for similar projects? • How would an airport planner choose a simulation tool for a specific project? • What level of detail is appropriate based on the project scope, resource availability, and information requirements? • What simulation metrics and visualization capabilities are required to support the project goals and decision-making process? The information collected for this study is focused on the application and current usage of fast-time simulation tools by various airports, airport planners, design/build companies, and FAA. Selected case examples are provided to demonstrate the use of simulation tools for the most common project types and areas. The report presents a detailed database of simulation tools, capabilities, and basic usage requirements. All of this information feeds a decision framework for airport planners and designers to select the most appropriate tool. In addition to a detailed literature review of current industry practices and case examples, this report uses an industry survey of representative airport planners, consultants, and gov- ernment organizations to gain more insight into specific simulation projects and tools as applied in airport planning and design. Using published case examples and the results from the survey, the information on simulation tools is categorized by area of applicability— airspace, airside, terminal, curbside—and subsequently by the type of project. Based on the S U M M A R Y Simulation Options for Airport Planning

2 Simulation Options for Airport Planning survey results, the project type—for example, master plan or capacity and delay study— appeared to be the driving factor in the selection of simulation tools. For each project type, the report lists different simulation tools that can be used, their basic characteristics, and their capabilities. In addition to guidelines for applying simulation tools based on current industry trends and practices, the report provides detailed information about specific simulation tools used by airport planners and designers today. Combined with selection guidelines, this detailed database of simulation tools can further guide simulation tool selections based on other characteristics such as major functionalities, data and resource requirements, and analysis and output capabilities. The information presented in this report comprises recent published literature and various other sources, including • Airport planner and designer industry survey. • Simulation tool developer literature and online resources. • Recent use cases and project descriptions. Statistical information collected from the survey and recent case study information directly fed the simulation tool selection framework. Additional information on simu- lation tools is provided as a general reference, but this information can also support the selection process. As simulation technologies and applications are ever-evolving, the information represents a snapshot of current practices and simulation tools at the time this report was published. In addition to the report, there are three appendices. Appendix A is the survey question- naire, Appendix B describes sample simulation study inputs and outputs, and Appendix C describes simulation model characteristics.

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Global business and tourism depend heavily on the efficient operation of airports and movement of passengers, baggage, and cargo across many areas. With increasing demand and connectivity requirements for airports comes the need for more sophisticated simulation and modeling tools to validate design assumptions.

Furthermore, airport design and planning decisions have significant impacts on policy and major capital improvement decisions, which can be supported by simulation and modeling tools at many levels.

ACRP Synthesis 98: Simulation Options for Airport Planning is the result of the collection and analysis of information on current industry practices and on applications of simulation tools for airport planning and design. Credible simulation projects can help airport administrators, designers, engineers, and planners estimate the impact of planned changes on passenger traffic, aircraft traffic, roadway traffic, baggage movements, and other subsystems such as bus and train links and aircraft ground support operations.

The toolsets and processes used to analyze and simulate airport operations have changed significantly since the 1980s, when analysis techniques were limited to general purpose queuing and network analysis concepts or purpose-built simulation tools. These tools have become much more sophisticated and accurate in emulating real-world aircraft, passenger, and vehicle dynamics.

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