National Academies Press: OpenBook

Policy and Planning Issues Roadmap Report (2019)

Chapter: 2. Selecting the Strategic Themes, Issues, and Research Ideas

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Suggested Citation:"2. Selecting the Strategic Themes, Issues, and Research Ideas." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Policy and Planning Issues Roadmap Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25605.
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Suggested Citation:"2. Selecting the Strategic Themes, Issues, and Research Ideas." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Policy and Planning Issues Roadmap Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25605.
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Page 6
Suggested Citation:"2. Selecting the Strategic Themes, Issues, and Research Ideas." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Policy and Planning Issues Roadmap Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25605.
×
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Suggested Citation:"2. Selecting the Strategic Themes, Issues, and Research Ideas." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Policy and Planning Issues Roadmap Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25605.
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Page 7

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Policy and Planning Issues Roadmap Report 4 In this section, we describe our methodology for inventorying, classifying and specifying the strategic themes, issues and research ideas. 2.1 Steer Team Research We started our Research Roadmap by taking a broad look at the aviation industry and the changes that had impacted airports over the last five years. Challenges were identified and grouped into 10 categories. • Challenges of growth: especially passenger growth but at select airports growth in aircraft movements as well. • Changes in ground transportation: advent of Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) and shifts in modal market share of passengers accessing the airport. • Funding and financing of airport development: increasing use of public-private-partnerships (P3s) to fund improvements needed to address inadequacies in airport infrastructure and capacity—especially with terminal and ground transportation projects. Some attributed the increase in P3s to airports outgrowing the funding capacity of their passenger facility charge (PFC) authority or to concerns about raising their rates and charges on airlines. • Small airport concerns: while growth characterized commercial aviation as a whole, much of the growth continued to be concentrated at large hubs5, with some spillover to secondary metropolitan airports. While some smaller airports have prospered, many others face increasing concern about lost connectivity. • Environment/Sustainability: several concerns were noted including the effects of sea-level rise for coastal airports; aircraft noise resulting from new arrival and departure procedures at airports; and community impacts resulting from airport growth. • Future changes in the airline industry: concern the next economic recession could bring about another round of airline consolidation, potentially impacting global alliances, 5 Large Hubs are defined as airports with over 1% of national passenger traffic 2 Selecting the Strategic Themes, Issues, and Research Ideas

Policy and Planning Issues Roadmap Report 5 competition on routes, and the level of traffic at airports. With airports having to make development decisions that could have ramifications for decades, this uncertainty was palpable. • Technology’s increasing importance: applications of technology were identified in several conversations, including: – The FAA’s NextGen initiatives and advanced air traffic procedures; – Wayfinding for passengers or vehicles on airport curbs and roadways; – The ubiquity of smartphones and the implications for airports; and – Virtual reality and impacts on terminal design. • Airport business models and commercialization of airports: growing focus on using excess airports lands for commercial development and improving non-aeronautical revenue generation referenced. There is discussion of whether or not U.S. airports were becoming more like their global counterparts in elevating the importance of commercial returns (i.e., generating net revenues). • The Customer: a growing focus on assessing and improving the entirety of the customer experience from home to gate (and back again). How can airports own the customer experience when it is so segmented among different players in the passenger journey? • Airport governance and organization: do airports have the correct governance structures to respond to today’s issues? While some discuss creating more independent boards to depoliticize airports, others look to better join airports with local communities to solve regional transportation system challenges such as surface traffic congestion. These challenges were helpful in preparing the Steer team for our discussions with airports and stakeholders. As noted above, we had preliminary discussions with several airports to identify issues of importance to airports generally. For each airport official, we described the purpose of the project, asked open-ended questions about the issues that were most important to them and followed-up when we needed more information. Although we cited the purpose of our research was to create a Research Roadmap on Policy and Planning Issues, we did not restrict our discussion to these issues at this point of the process. 2.2 Literature Review and ACRP Survey With the challenges and preliminary information from airports, we conducted our literature review, including a perusal of soon to be completed ACRP research as well as ideas posted on the ACRP’s IdeaHub. We have provided an annotated literature review and set of references in Appendix B of this report. For convenience, we have organized it around the five strategic themes presented in the next chapter.

Policy and Planning Issues Roadmap Report 6 2.3 Airport and Stakeholder Outreach After completion of the literature review, the Steer team began the thorough stakeholder outreach process, which continued through to November 2018. Although the individual respondents are not identified (to assure their unrestricted feedback), they included representatives from the following types of airports and private sector firms. The trade associations and government agencies agreed to attribution. The following summarizes the different stakeholders that have participated in this study: • 12 large hub airports (including three operated by port authorities) • 2 medium hub airports • 8 small hub airports • 2 non-hub airports • 1 general aviation (GA) airport • 5 airport management and planning consultancies • 3 private equity firms • 3 private developers • 1 airport operating company • 1 airport concessionaire • FAA Office of Airports and Research, Engineering and Development Advisory Committee (REDAC) • The U.S. Department of Transportation Office of the Undersecretary of Policy • Aircraft Owners and Pilot Association • Airports Council International, North America • American Association of Airport Executives • Airport Consultants Council • Reason Foundation • Brookings Institution 2.4 Strategic Theme Prioritization and Issue Identification We took the high volume of material generated by this project and organized it into research roadmap themes. There were disparate ideas, many of which did not fall neatly into one category or into strictly policy and planning silos. In addition, after discussions with the 11-02/Task 33 Project Panel, we decided to include issues identified at the ACRP Thought Leaders Forum in this project. We did this even though they were often at a higher level of abstraction than the research, which is to be expected given they were identified in a one-day session as opposed to a nearly one-year research study. To prioritize, organize and identify strategic themes, issues and research ideas for this project, we utilized the following criteria: • Align with purpose of study: the research is associated with policy and/or planning; however, we did include several research items that would likely involve multiple research roadmaps (e.g., roadway and curbs with the Research Roadmap on Design and Construction);

Policy and Planning Issues Roadmap Report 7 • Salient: the research was identified as important by the research team, airports and stakeholders, and/or the 11/02-Task 33 Project Panel; • Research Gap: the research was either not directly addressed in the literature, or the full issue was not comprehensively addressed, or past work had not been updated recently; often, issues might be too new to be studied thoroughly; and • Achievable: the research is something the ACRP could reasonably conduct through its program. As referenced above, we also did not identify policy issues that could be construed as evaluating or designed to change policy. In several cases, especially with rules on FAA airport funding or economic regulation, or with the rules governing international air services, airports and stakeholders suggested research that would have analyzed current government policy or the effects that policy changes could have on airports. In cases where we did receive such feedback, we included it only as background context for the issues that are relevant to the research.

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Major technological and security changes in the aviation industry over the past 20 years have forced airport leaders and aviation stakeholders to think of new research ideas that will improve the planning and development of policies and new models that foster growth of air service, incorporate new airport and customer technology, revise airport business models, and better interact with neighboring communities.

ACRP (Airport Cooperative Research Program) Web-Only Document 39: Policy and Planning Issues Roadmap Report is one of several Research Roadmap Reports that the ACRP commissioned to generate the research ideas that will help airports solve common problems, learn about new technologies, and assess innovations in services and operations.

Planning and policy together represent one of 10 identified categories of research that directly involves and benefits the airport industry. Policy and planning issues are especially sensitive to developments in the aviation industry. For example, airport boards and executives may adopt new commercial strategies to raise additional airport revenues (an internal decision), while the FAA may change the criteria or funding levels for airport programs (an external decision).

These Research Roadmaps augment the continuous ACRP solicitation process to airport industry practitioners for research ideas and problem statements.

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