Synthesis Topics

Aviation System Performance Measures for National, State, and Regional System Plans

The Synthesis project would review and summarize the aviation system performance measures that have been adopted as part of national, state and regional airport system plans.

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

There is currently no standard approach to measuring aviation system performance at the national, state and regional level, although there are common performance measures that are used in different plans. The FAA and state and regional agencies preparing system plans could benefit from an ACRP Synthesis Report that summarizes and discusses the range of performance measures used by different agencies and in different contexts.

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

The Synthesis project would review and summarize the aviation system performance measures that have been adopted as part of national, state and regional airport system plans. There is currently no standard approach to measuring aviation system performance at the national, state and regional level, although there are common performance measures that are used in different plans. The FAA and state and regional agencies preparing system plans could benefit from an ACRP Synthesis Report that summarizes and discusses the range of performance measures used by different agencies and in different contexts. The Synthesis may also be helpful to individual airports that are establishing or reassessing their performance measures, since they may be interested in relating their own performance measures to those used by other agencies to assess the performance of the larger airport system of which they are part.

The Synthesis project could also address how the various performance measures are used in decision making, as well as identify any data issues that arise in their use and potential solutions. There are two key challenges related to performance measurement: data sources and metric computation methodology. Airlines and the FAA generate their own data, which may not be available to all aviation practitioners. As a result there has been the emergence of private companies that have tried to go beyond proprietary data sources and generate their own metrics. Harmonizing data sources and methodologies is very important to support collaboration among all aviation stakeholders.

Efforts have been undertaken by both the Airports Council International and International Civil Aviation Organization (referenced in Information Sources) to develop common key performance metrics and identify best practices. However, these focus on specific components of the aviation system (such as airports or air traffic management) rather than the system as a whole.

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

The Synthesis project would provide valuable background information for ACRP Project 01-37 Best Practices for State Aeronautics Division Performance Measures, which has been funded for the Fiscal Year 2018 project cycle. Although there is some overlap between the proposed Synthesis topic and ACRP Project 01-37, this is viewed as a positive synergy for the following reasons:

  1. Project 01-37 is specifically focused on state aeronautics agencies, whereas the proposed Synthesis topic is broader in scope, including national and regional system plans.

  2. The description of Project 01-37 is focused on determining best practices and evaluating types of performances measures being used. There is no discussion in the problem statement for the project about undertaking an inventory of existing practice, although of course the Project Panel could add this to the scope of the project in the Request for Proposals (RFP).

  3. Before attempting to define best practices it would first be necessary to review the range of performance measures being used. Therefore, the findings of a Synthesis project could serve as input to the research project, allowing that project to focus on the question of how to define and assess best practices (which is not a trivial issue -- how does one determine "best" in this context). This would help offset the reduced budget that was approved for Project 01-37 ($250,000, compared to the requested $350,000).

  4. Typically Synthesis projects are completed much more quickly than research projects (six months or so compared to a couple of years) and can be initiated much more rapidly, so it is not implausible that the Synthesis project could be completed (or at least have substantive findings) by the start date of 01-37. In any case, the findings of the Synthesis would be available a year or more before the results of 01-37.

Coordination of the scope of the Synthesis project and the RFP Project 01-37 by the respective Project Panels working through the ACRP staff could maximize synergies and avoid duplication of effort.

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.

Airport Cooperative Research Program, Developing an Airport Performance-Measurement System, ACRP Report 19, Washington, DC, Oct. 2010.

Airport Cooperative Research Program, Resource Guide to Airport Performance Indicators, ACRP Report 19A, Washington, DC, Apr. 2011.

Airport Cooperative Research Program, ACRP Project 01-29 Design and Development of a State Aviation Information Database (Active, scheduled completion Feb. 2018).

Airport Cooperative Research Program, ACRP Project 03-41 Common Performance Metrics for Airport Infrastructure and Operational Planning (Active, scheduled completion Mar. 2018).

Airports Council International, Guide to Airport Performance Measures, Prepared by Robert Hazel, Oliver Wyman, Inc., Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Feb. 2012.

Gosling, Geoffrey D., "Aviation System Performance Measures for State Transportation Planning," Transportation Research Record, No. 1703, Sept. 2000, pp.7-15.

International Civil Aviation Organization, Air Navigation Bureau, Performance Management – Identification of Metrics, https://www.icao.int/ESAF/ASBU/ASBU13-PPT10-Performance.pdf (accessed 8/30/17).

U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, Report to Congress: National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) 2017-2010, Washington, DC, Sept. 2016. Chapter 2: System Objectives and Performance.

U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, Operational Metrics, https://www.faa.gov/data_research/aviation_data_statistics/operational_metrics/, (accessed 08/31/17).

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Idea No. 140