Research Projects

Determining the Costs and Financial Benefit of Airport Safety

Develop and create modeling that airports can use to pro-actively measure the effectiveness of safety. Further, establish a common system and categories of investments in safety and how they are tracked.

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

Safety programs are seen by many airport executives as a cost rather than an investment. Developing a methodology for airports to measure the costs or savings from the implementation of safety processes will help airport decision makers in budgeting for safety initiatives. To this end, the practice of proving a negative is difficult and many airports simply look to regulation for their safety guidance. Being compliant becomes the motivation rather than safety itself. Airports need the tools to measure the investment in safety and prove its value.
Additionally, airports need a means to characterize the key factors influencing the safety of airport changes using references developed by the industry and examples using quantitative and qualitative risk assessments. Improving airport facilities seems to be a constant process across the country. Sharing a means to perform a cost-benefit analysis on proposed airport improvements from a safety perspective will enhance risk based decision making at the airport. Some airports have realized tangible results in the reduction of claims and insurance deductibles by qualifying the value of safety processes. There are ways to analyze the payoff of safety investments and this research will provide those tools so airports can begin to understand the financial benefits of the investments. These examples will provide airports with a starting place on where to look for the payoff of the investment in safety.

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

A report and accompanying guidebook that identifies the metrics needed to develop models aimed at proactively measuring the effectiveness of safety initiatives, establishing a common performance system, and categorizing investments in safety and how they are tracked. Such models could serve as guidance on conducting a safety cost/benefit analysis involving major airport changes.

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Idea No. 323