[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

Is Higher Speed or Directness of Service More Important? In the case studies of successful rail services to downtown, two strategies for service design emerge: (1) focus on the line speed to the terminal or on the quality of distribution services, and (2) minimize the headway that comes from joint operation with regularly scheduled services. Both strategies seek to produce a door-to-door travel time that is competitive with the taxi and the private vehicle. In the comparison of the two strategies, the Oslo Airport Express can be used as a prototype of the high-speed dedicated-service strategy (in which services are designed specifically for air travelers) and Munich’s standard S-Bahn can be a prototype of the lower speed shared-service strategy (in which air travelers share public transportation services designed for commuters and others). In the evolutions of these systems, service was improved in Oslo by decreasing the line time, while service in Munich was improved by doubling the number of trains, thus lowering the waiting time by 50%. An Example of Low-Speed, Shared Service: Munich Although several cities have chosen to create dedicated express airport services, most of the airports in the sample are served by rail lines that are also used by daily commuters. Munich can be used as an example of a local strategy, because, as shown in Figure 3-3, the airport station is served by only conventional metropolitan railway equipment, with no direct national service. In the 1990s, the Munich S-Bahn system made a major improvement to airport service with the addition of a second local rail line, making no change in the basic strategy to serve the airport with the existing metropolitan rail system. In 1998, the Munich system doubled the amount of service to the airport with standard local equipment providing service that is shared with the other users of the system. A new line was extended for 4 miles from an existing route, the S-1 (shown at the left end of the dotted line on Figure 3-3), at a cost of DM 220 million (US $121 million). In the first months of the new service, ridership from the airport station increased by 7%, with air traveler mode share rising from 28% to 31%. This increase in ridership is notable because the actual travel time by either of the two lines to downtown remains about 40 minutes. This travel time is similar to that of the London Underground from Heathrow airport but worse than that of most other local airport services.

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