Airport Offsite Passenger Service Facilities: An Option for Improving Landside Access: Volume 1: Definition, Background, and Opportunities

Report No: 08-R15

Published in 2008

About the report:

Because transportation modes are diverse, intermodal connections take several forms. They may be comprised of a major hub, such as the Virginia Inland Port, which transfers freight between the truck and rail modes, or an improvement to an existing mode, such as storage space for bicycles on buses. Between these extremes are park and ride lots, which accommodate motorists changing to a transit mode. These intermodal connection points share the common purpose of providing a "seamless" link from one mode to another. An example of an intermodal connection is the airport offsite passenger service facility, or simply an offsite facility. These facilities deliver passengers from a common location to an airport and may provide additional services such as baggage and passenger check-in. These facilities can exist at train stations, cruise line ports, resorts, or hotels or as separate facilities near major highways. Some provide passenger transportation to the airport but not baggage check-in; some provide baggage check-in but not passenger transportation to the airport; and some provide baggage and passenger check-in as well as transportation to the airport. Successful airport offsite facilities offer a benefit to both the passenger and the airport operator. Passenger benefits include the seamless transfer of people or baggage; operator benefits include the option to increase airport terminal capacity without the need to acquire additional land for parking or other terminal operations. In the past, when offsite facilities failed to provide such benefits, they ceased operations. Thus, an investment in an offsite facility is not without risk. Where successful, these facilities may offer the following public benefits: (1) an alternative airport access mode for air passengers and (2) a way to expand airport landside capacity without taking additional land. To the extent that automobile trips are replaced by public transportation, these facilities can serve (1) to improve air quality and (2) to reduce highway congestion. These opportunities suggest that offsite facilities merit consideration as one tool for improving intermodal connections. This report documents the history, categories, potential risks and benefits, and Virginia-specific opportunities associated with airport offsite passenger service facilities. A major barrier to implementation is the lack of a methodology for forecasting travel demand. A companion report entitled Airport Offsite Passenger Service Facilities: An Option for Improving Landside Access: Volume II: A Methodology to Determine Demand for Airport Offsite Passenger Service Facilities will present the results of a study that can assist in evaluating the potential for implementing such a facility in Virginia.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

Arkopal K.  Goswami, Lester A. Hoel, Ph.D.

Last updated: November 24, 2023

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