Airport Offsite Passenger Service Facilities: An Option for Improving Landside Access: Volume II: Access Characteristics and Travel Demand

Report No: 09-R6

Published in 2009

About the report:

Offsite airport facilities provide ground transportation, baggage and passenger check in, and other transportation services to departing air passengers from a remote location. The purpose of this study was to develop models to determine the airports that might be candidates for such a facility and estimate the percentage of travelers that would choose to use one to access the airport. Offsite airport facility operations were examined in New York, Los Angeles, Zurich, London, and Hong Kong, and passenger data were obtained from surveys distributed at six U.S. airports. A total of 1,700 air-traveler questionnaires were completed at four airports without offsite facilities, i.e., Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI), Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport (CHO), Norfolk International Airport (ORF), and Richmond International Airport (RIC), and at two airports with offsite facilities that provide ground transportation only, i.e., Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The survey results show that 68% of passengers who traveled directly to the airport terminal would consider using an offsite airport facility if available. Of the passengers who currently use an offsite airport facility that provides only ground transportation, almost 70% indicated that their access would be improved by expanded services including baggage and passenger check in. The two main reasons cited for using the offsite airport facilities surveyed in this study were reduced travel time variability (43%) and lower cost (39%). With the data collected at the six airports, two models were developed sequentially to determine the demand for offsite facilities. The airport access quality model was used to establish initial demand by assuming that the likelihood of a viable offsite facility is directly proportional to the difficulty, or resistance, encountered during the current access trip to the airport. This model yielded expected results when tested with a former offsite airport facility. The offsite facility usage model was used to determine the probability of passengers using an offsite facility while accessing an airport and accurately estimated 58% of the test set responses. The airport access quality model develops a value for total resistance and ranks the airports according to the current difficulty encountered by passengers during their access trip to the airport. When applied to three Virginia airports, passengers accessing RIC had the largest total resistance. Accordingly, RIC is considered to have the highest potential demand for an offsite facility. The offsite airport facility usage model was based on flight departure time and variability in ground travel time as predictors of the final demand. For example, the model estimated an offsite airport facility demand of 74% for passengers departing between 8 and 10:30 A.M. when ground travel times vary by 45 min (rounded to the nearest 15-min interval). For passengers departing before 8:00 A.M. and with a ground travel time that varies by no more than 5 min, the models estimated demand at only 26%. The offsite airport facility usage model was also used to identify the zones (defined by zip codes) where potential use of offsite terminals is substantial.

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.


Last updated: November 23, 2023

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