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

Coordinate with the Regional Planning Process The parties need to define the extent to which the ground access issues are regional in nature, as this will affect the number of stakeholders needed at the table. Many on-airport improvements can be managed at a very local level, but others will require a broader based coalition to deal with the issues that are clearly regional in nature. For those issues that require a multiagency response, it is critical to involve the managers of the regional planning process, usually the regional metropolitan planning organization (MPO). Failure to do this will result in serious problems in obtaining funding and needed environmental clearances. The Role of the Congestion Management System Within the established metropolitan transportation planning process, there are several procedures that are critical for the successful integration between the project-specific activities and the regional requirements. Many metropolitan areas, particularly those with air pollution issues of non-attainment, require the creation of a Congestion Management System (CMS) by the region’s MPO. The role of the CMS is to document significant sources of congestion and low system performance and to examine a wide variety of strategic solutions to the problem, only the

Six Steps in a Market-Based Strategy for Improving Airport Ground Access

last of which is the addition of roadway capacity. Indeed, in areas of non-attainment, federal funding can only be used for roadway capacity increases that result from the completion of the CMS. At the very least, the managers of the airport access improvement strategy should be working closely with regional managers of the CMS. At this point, the regional planning must focus on the unique demands that will be placed on the data collection and analysis process for improving public transportation access to an airport. Usually, the travel demand forecasting process used in the metropolitan planning organization is focused on the needs of the peak-hour commuting period. The existing databases may or may not be structured to deal with the needs of the longer distance traveler. Traditional forms of U.S. Census journey-to-work data will be of only limited value to the analysis of airport access. MPOs may or may not be prepared to analyze the transportation behavior patterns of the longer distance traveler, in this case the air traveler. Preparation for Major Investments In the event that the planning process may result in a major capital investment, the early planning should be undertaken in a manner consistent with the requirements of the later creation of either an Environmental Impact Statement or a Finding of No Significant Impact. In either case, the rules for formal scoping and for the public participatory process must be established in the earliest phase of the planning process. In particular, the early examination and narrowing of alternatives must be undertaken consistent with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, as part of a publicly visible process; lack of attention to the legal requirements of process at this point risks the invalidation of later results from court challenges. For the reasons discussed in the preceding paragraphs, clearly any major attempt at applying regional resources to improving public mode services to airports must be either initiated by the regional planning body or closely coordinated with others in the region having the statutory authority for transportation planning. The planning effort to improve public transportation services to the airport should be included in the Unified Planning Work Program approved by the MPO, regardless of whether federal funds are proposed in the planning or implementation efforts. Indeed, recent funding legislation requires that the operators of airports be members of the MPO. Design Analysis Tools for the Longer Distance Trip The tools of analysis must be applied to understand the particular travel demand behavior of the traveler taking a longer distance, multimodal, multisegment trip. From the outset, the analysts need to see the problem in terms of the full trip of the traveler. The choice of a mode to or from an airport is part of a larger set of decisions made in the process of going from the door of origin to the door of destination of the full trip. It is critically important to establish early in the process that the needs of the long-distance traveler most probably will require solutions that are not simply extensions and elaborations on service concepts already provided for the metropolitan context. The operation of traditional, low-fare, multistop street bus service to major airports may be a critically important element of a program to get workers to jobs, but such services only rarely have the ability to attract air travelers. The long-distance traveler makes logical and rational economic decisions, and those decisions are different from those made in daily commuting. The longer distance traveler is making a different set of decisions from those of the metropolitan-scale traveler. These decisions are different in terms of uncertainty and lack of knowledge about the non-home end of the trip. The decisions are different because of the amount of baggage being carried by the traveler, the traveler’s sense of apprehension about the reliability of the trip and arriving on time, and the total trip costs.

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