Research Projects

Cultural and Social Behavior Shifts Towards the Touchless Journey

Assigned to Frank Barich
Last Edited by Frank Barich

The "touchless journey" results in significant changes that have been long-coming, but is now on an accelerated path resulting from the pandemic. Depending on the nature of the individual, new (especially technology) solutions bring both satisfaction and fear - all of which bring out a growing need for research and guidance on cultural and social behavioral shifts.

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

The reaction to the pandemic has been necessarily swift, with many airport operators and airlines testing and making significant changes to passenger processes throughout the air travel journey. For example, Bangalore airport touts that in just 60 days, they produced an end-to-end touchless journey. Such changes come at the expense of cultural and behavioral shifts that can result in negative reactions if not properly managed. I personally observed one elderly man stumble as he entered an escalator. In an effort to catch his balance, but trying not to touch the handrails, he severely cut himself on the back of the hand. Additionally, as data to this pandemic continues to mature, these quick changes, may not necessarily result in the final changes needed. While the new touchless environment matures, Through conducting research with airport operators, airlines, and other related industries that have deployed touchless processes, we can identify cultural and social changes. Studying these changes, we can then provide recommendations as to how to promote positive changes, while also mitigating negative changes.

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

The quick move to a touchless environment, along with the other social changes, is probably one of the most significant changes that Aviation industry has experienced for some time. Whether or not all touchless and associated changes remain, it is clear that many will and should, resulting in sustained changes to the passenger journey. Therefore, the objective of this research is to provide actionable means and methods airport operators can perform that will help to mitigate the risks of changes to the various passenger demographics, and to help promote effective cultural and behavioral changes. The desired product is a guidance document (or web service) that provides clear presentation of observed social and cultural shifts and guides the reader through means of promoting positive results.

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

This challenge is not isolated to just airports in the US. This is a global challenge, which also spans into all transportation corridors, and other industries that possess people processing. As such, research should focus on workshop environments, taking the best advantage of group thought from selected global and industry areas. Being this guidance is toward social and cultural impacts, validation exercises should be conducted across various processing scenarios.

Cost Estimate and Backup (Provide a cost estimate and support for how you arrived at the estimate.)

Cost estimate is $450,000. Value is based on other research projects using the workshop and validation approach.

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Idea No. 738