Research Projects

Guidebook to Managing Landside Facility Constraints

Develop a guidebook that provides strategies (best management practices) that airport operators and other stakeholders can use to manage demand placed on landside facilities (e.g. ground transportation infrastructure) in a constrained environment. The guidebook reviews existing and proposed operational, financial and logistical strategies that airport operators or other entities are permitted to use to encourage efficient utilization of facilities and promote increased throughput. The study, while accounting for legal and regulatory differences, should look at U.S. and other nations where congested airports have successfully used demand management strategies to deliver reduced congestion in landside facilities.

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

For congested airports, often because of geographic location or other land use constraints, it has become challenging to expand the capacity of landside facilities to meet current and future demand while maintaining an acceptable level of customer service. For example, while the demand for airport parking may have decreased or leveled-off at many airports the increased use of transportation network companies (TNCs) by passengers has added demands on ground transportation facilities that were not originally anticipated. Airport operators must now look for demand management strategies when not in the position to expand facilities or rely on underutilized assets that can help relieve some of the pressure.


Questions that should be considered in the research include but are not limited to the following:

Congestion Impacts – although airport operators may define congestion differently what are the negative impacts on passengers/tenants, airport operations and the natural environment?

• Concerns/goals – for airport operators located in environments where congestion is difficult to manage what are their main concerns and how would they define success?

Demand Management Limitations – what regulatory, legal and operational factors inhibit an airport operator's ability to address landside congestion? Examples include:

• Revenue diversion – inability for airport operators to use funds for off-airport improvements where issues are commonly found. How have airports successfully implemented landside infrastructure improvements beyond their jurisdiction or creatively used their funds within the FAA limitations?
• Access limitations – what legal constraints exist that limit an airport operator's ability to limit access by specific ground transportation providers?
• Technology – some recent congestion issues are related to changes in technology where the airport operator cannot keep up. How can airport operators adapt better to a rapidly changing environment?

Demand Management Strategies – what strategies have airport operators successfully or unsuccessfully deployed to address congestion? Examples include:

• Access prioritization – how can airports help manage demand through controlling access to facilities (e.g. limit certain types of vehicles or services)?
• Roadway tolling – how can this be used and what are the potential political, technical, and operational ramifications?
• Passenger messaging – how can airport operators better manage demand on facilities through messaging to passengers/tenants?
• Rate/charges – how can revenue management be better utilized to manage congestion, within FAA limitations?
• Technology – how can airport operators better utilize technology to manage demand? What technologies are being used here and abroad to congestion?

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

The objective is to identify strategies employed to address congestion on landside facilities at airports throughout the world. The effort should focus on severely congested airports with little to no capacity to make significant physical improvements.

The objective could potentially focus on the following:

  1. Strategies currently permitted and implemented at congested airports.
  2. Strategies that could potentially be implemented should regulations be relaxed.
  3. Strategies, such that demand may be spread through non-peak periods.
  4. Strategies to address political, community, or stakeholder concerns.

Note: although these strategies may provide additional benefits, they should exclude those focused on management of congestion within the passenger terminal building and on the airfield.

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

The following are suggested tasks to be executed as part of this research.

  1. Identify the most landside congested commercial service airports throughout the world. These airports should represent both large and medium size airports, both with and without mass transit rail service.

  2. Contact representatives of these airports to understand their challenges and identify the universe of strategies employed. Strategy research should focus on but not be limited to the following:


a. Primary issue being addressed
b. Ease of implementation (e.g. duration, community response, response by airlines, and other stakeholders)
c. Scalability
d. Time period
e. Upfront capital costs
f. Operating costs
g. Changes in airport revenues
h. Methods used to encourage political consensus
i. Passenger acceptance

  1. Contact airlines, regulatory agencies, and others involved in the implementation and approval of the strategies

  2. Research forthcoming technologies likely to disrupt current operations and demands

  3. Identify trends in landside congestion management strategies and group the strategies, as appropriate

  4. Identify notable emerging strategies that have been adopted in recent years, in the judgment of the principal investigator, the project team, and the project panel

  5. Describe forthcoming technologies, particularly those expected to disrupt current operation and demand patterns

  6. Prepare a guidebook summarizing the research, including:

a. Overview of landside congestion management strategies
b. Emerging trends in landside congestion management strategies
c. Up to 10 case studies, which cover the spectrum of strategies employed throughout the world, with a focus on:
i. Strategies that may be applicable to U.S. airports
ii. Strategies that may require regulatory coordination
d. Identify any legal or regulatory hurdles that would inhibit U.S. airports from employing certain strategies, without advocating for specific changes

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

Estimated Cost: $400,000
Estimated Schedule: 18 months

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.

ACRP Report 146
ACRP Legal Research Digest 3



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Idea No. 269