[PDF] ACRP REPORT 4. Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation AIRPORT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM

Demographic Characteristics of Air Travelers Although air travelers can be classified in many ways, two variables—trip purpose and home residence location—are frequently used to classify air travelers for purposes of airport ground access planning. The combination of these two variables results in four market segments: resident business, resident non-business, non-resident business, and non-resident non-business (Figure 6-1). (In the figures, the four segments are sometimes shortened to res biz, res non-biz, non-res biz, and non-res non-biz.) As mentioned earlier, one objective of market research is to identify target groups for a service or product. For air travelers, the characteristics of residence and trip purpose influence their preferences for ground access services. The different characteristics of these four market segments and the implications for ground access services are discussed in the following sections.

Applying Market Research to Airport Ground Access

Trip Purpose

The “Four Cell Matrix”

Resident Business

Non-resident Business

Resident Non-business

Non-resident Non-business

Residential Status

Figure 6-1. The four market segments.

Resident Business Resident business travelers are often the largest group of air travelers. They tend to travel to and from the airport at peak arrival or departure times. Because of their frequent air travel, resident business travelers are likely to know the most efficient, reliable, and cost-effective means of accessing the airport. Typically, resident business travelers make shorter trips than non-business travelers and have less baggage. Although this characteristic makes their travel profile more suitable for public transportation, their sensitivity to access time reliability makes them cautious about using these services. Public transportation service characteristics like schedule reliability must be flawless to attract resident business travelers. This observation is especially true for the so-called “just-in-time” travelers, who arrive at the airport with barely enough time to make their flight departure and who are particularly sensitive to even minor delays. Resident business travelers tend to be the dominant users of the more convenient (close-by) and more expensive airport parking options. Resident Non-Business Resident non-business air travelers are almost certain to start their airport trip from home and to have a longer length of stay than resident business air travelers. They also tend to travel in larger travel parties and to have more baggage. Accordingly, they are more sensitive to access costs and may need assistance with baggage handling. Although resident non-business travelers travel less frequently than business travelers, they usually have some information available about access to their local airport and may have developed a preferred access method. They have a greater tendency to travel during off-peak times and are subject to day-of-the-week variations because of travel promotions by the airlines. Because of the characteristics of their travel, resident nonbusiness air travelers will likely be dropped off at the airport by friends or family; if they drive, they are likely to park in reduced-rate facilities. They are candidates for public transportation if the ground mode boarding location is situated along their normal route to the airport. Non-Resident Business Non-resident business travelers usually begin their trips to the airport from a place of business or a hotel. These places tend to be located in city centers, near regional attractions, near the airport, or in proximity to regional highways. Depending on the nature of their trips (e.g., a business meeting at one location or multiple meetings with a series of clients), non-resident business travelers usually require the flexibility of a rental car or taxi. When their destination is the center of the city, they will use the most efficient means of reaching their destination without regard to cost. They may use public transportation, when the service is expedient and delivers them near their destination without the need for multiple stops and transfers. Non-Resident Non-Business Non-resident non-business travelers are usually the least informed and most unfamiliar with the access options available at any given airport. Although these travelers may make multiple

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