Synthesis Topics

How Airports are Becoming Smart

Airports have been using the Internet of Things to become more connected and offer enhanced customer service logistics as smart airports. This synthesis would document the state of the industry with regard to the application of smart airport technologies and lessons learned from current adopters.

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

ACRP Report 191 provided a primer for airports on becoming a smart airport. Airports across the country are focusing on different facets of the connected environment and moving towards being a smart airport. News from airports periodically highlights smart airport applications such as TSA weight times, TNC geofence for billing, wayfinding, and parking assistance to available spaces. It is likely these are only a few examples of the smart applications in use. It would also be interesting to identify if any of the smart applications are interconnected such as parking to terminal wayfinding. It would be helpful for the industry to have a consolidated list of the smart applications in use at airports as well as any challenges or infrastructure required to implement the application.

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

The objective of this study is to capture the current use of smart airport technologies, especially for customer service enhancements, and the lessons learned to allow other airports to evaluate the benefit of these technologies at their location. The airports, especially smaller airports, would benefit from understanding the use of current smart airport technology to provide a starting point to evaluate and apply the concepts at their airport.

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

Identify airports of varying sizes that are considered leaders in the use of smart airport technologies. The airports should be primarily in the U.S. but examples from oversees could be identified. Conduct a survey of those airports to identify their practices in use such as TSA wait times, parking service enhancements, and TNC billing. Then gather about five case studies on different applications and lessons learned. The survey should also ask about further planned smart airport improvements.

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 191 provided a primer to help airports prepare to be a connected or smart airport. Since that study started several years ago, airports have been rapidly adopting smart airport concepts. This study would document how far airports have come in implementing smart airport technologies, the challenges and future study needs related to smart airports and emerging technologies.

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Idea No. 261