Synthesis Topics

Airport parking pricing strategies In Reserve

This study will review revenues and pricing strategies of airport operated parking facilities for 380 primary airports and 126 non-primary (commercial services) airports in the current National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS).

Background (Describe the current situation or problem in the industry, and how your idea would address it.)

Parking facilities are one of the most significant non-aeronautical revenue contributors for airport authorities. However, airports vary significantly from each other in terms of revenue collected through operating parking facilities. A quick review of the top 10 business airports in the U.S. (as measured by total enplaned passengers) identified that parking revenue ranges from $36.6 million to $190 million in 2018. Parking revenues are not specifically tied to airport annual enplanements, but are determined by a pool of many complex factors. When a thorough investigation to uncover the connection between parking revenue and potential predicting factors is missing, it is likely that airports are not charging traveling passengers appropriately, which may lead to under-utilization of valuable resource thus reducing benefits to the traveling public.

Objective (What is the desired product or result that will help the airport industry?)

Through synthesizing pricing strategies of parking facilities at primary and non-primary (commercial services) airports, this study aims to depict a national airport parking pricing landscape to assist airport authorities review and benchmark how they manage parking facilities financially. Results of this synthesis are expected to 1) help airport authorities optimize parking resources allocation at primary and commercial services airports, and 2) assist the traveling public to make economically sound decisions when accessing airports.

Approach (Describe in general terms the steps you think are needed to achieve the objective.)

The following steps will be undertaken to complete this synthesis topic.

  1. Collect data on 380 primary and 126 non-primary airports. The scope of data collection includes airport operational and financial statistics, geographic characteristics, availability and strength of competition, existing modes of access, and the economic indicators of the markets served.
  2. Summarize the data using proper visualization and GIS applications, which will enable instantaneous and effective interpretation of data for potential users of this synthesis study.
  3. To explore the quantitative relationship between parking revenues and predicting factors utilizing machine learning.
Related Research - List related ACRP and other industry research; describe gaps (see link to Research Roadmaps above), and describe how your idea would address these gaps. This is a critical element of a synthesis topic submission.

Parking pricing strategies have been thoroughly studied in the context of urban transportation and congestion. These urban area specific analyses focus almost exclusively on the impacts and best practices for congested areas. Concerning TRB research, several studies address maintenance issues, employee commuting, and electric vehicle charging stations with respect to parking facilities (Syntheses 47, 36, and 54, respectively). As of ACRP projects, there are four current and past projects on airport parking. Among them, ACRP 09-03 deals with parking garage lighting solutions (ACRP Report 124), ACRP 10-03 is about the application of new technologies at airport parking facilities to improve the operational efficiency, safety and to manage capacity (ACRP Report 24), and ACRP 10-06 is about the assessment of the impacts of constrained airport parking (ACRP Report 34). ACRP Report 24 briefly discusses the topic of pricing strategy; however, the discussion does not address any specific pricing strategies for airport parking but merely identifies the topic as important in the planning process. The current ACRP Project 03-47 focuses primarily on exploring new approaches to make up the potential declines of parking revenues. Despite these aforementioned projects, no readily available resource exists for airport operators to answer questions such as "What rate should I charge for my airport parking?" "Should airports use flat rate pricing or switch to dynamic pricing?" Airport authorities would greatly benefit from a thorough review of airport parking pricing best practices around the U.S., and this proposed synthesis would fill that gap. Additionally, the current ACRP Project 03-47 would benefit from an overarching analysis of airport parking pricing strategies that this proposed synthesis would provide. This synthesis would complement that ongoing project as well as the literature on airport parking maintenance, lighting, safety, and implementation thus providing airport officials with a comprehensive planning resource that accounts for micro-level financial decision making.

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Idea No. 250