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

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Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation

Three Categories of Trip-End Density For the purpose of this research project, three basic categories of trip-end density have been created: • Less than 5 airport trip ends per square mile • Between 5 and 50 airport trip ends per square mile • More than 50 airport trip ends per square mile

Each of the three categories has its own challenges. As will be discussed in Step 4, the empirical data suggest that providing services from door to door at trip-end densities of less than 5 trip ends per square mile is extremely difficult and may result in shared-ride services producing basically low-occupancy taxi services under a different name. The examination of geographic areas composed of zones with at least 50 airport trip ends per square mile provides a point of departure for further analysis concerning possible markets for traditional fixed-route and -schedule service. The existence of geographic areas with more than 50 trip ends per square mile is necessary but not sufficient to support these services. Having defined the geographic area of more than 50 trip ends per square mile, the analyst can further explore the characteristics of density within this geographic area, which vary considerably among U.S. airports. Table 1-2 ranks 10 of the 27 most transit-oriented U.S. airports in order of the portion of their ground transportation markets originating in zones with densities greater than 50 trip ends per square mile. Airports Ranked by Orientation to Areas of High Trip-End Density Fixed-route and -schedule service requires a certain density of trip ends to operate at reasonable headways. Table 1-2 shows that, of U.S. airports, only San Francisco International Airport and Reagan Washington National Airport have a majority of trip origins coming from the densest category, those areas with more than 50 trip ends per square mile. The use of the category “more than 50 trip ends per square mile” is a surrogate to describe the market areas most susceptible to higher occupancy public mode solutions. It is a first step in the process of identifying specific service proposals, ranging from scheduled hotel loop service (appropriate to most large airports) to full-scale regional rail transit coverage (applicable to a small number of airports), such as Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). Whereas the first data column of Table 1-2 summarizes the extent to which an airport is oriented to the highest category of trip density, the second column provides more information about the trip-end density within that geographic area. This information is needed to assess the ability of the market to support fixed-route and -schedule services and can be used as an indicator of the potential for high-capacity service to be successful. By far the airports with the greatest concentration of trip ends are in New York with more than 400 trip ends per square mile for this analysis area. At the other extreme, the low trip-end densities for analysis areas in Los Angeles are particularly cautionary in the context of markets to support fixed-route and -schedule services throughout the defined area.

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