Revenues from public parking at an airport are typically a major source of non-airline income at an airport. However, many commercial service airports, particularly those located in congested urban areas, do not have available land area to expand parking lots, and the cost of building parking structures is extremely expensive. The result is a demand for parking that exceeds the number of parking spaces that are available at the airport. This situation is further exacerbated by the fact that parking for persons employed at the airport requires a substantial number of parking spaces that are typically undervalued when compared to the revenue stream generated by public parking. However, these employees of the airport operator and its tenants, e.g., airlines and concessionaire, are vital to the operation of the airport so their need for access to the airport has to be accommodated.
In addition to limited land area, the constraints on airport parking are sometimes instituted to achieve other goals. For example, a Metropolitan Planning Organization and local government may adopt regulations limiting the number of allowed automobile parking spaces in an effort to reduce single occupancy vehicle trips and, as a result, lower automobile emissions and encourage the use of public transport.
Anecdotal information indicates that when airport parking is constrained, most passengers will choose to be dropped off/picked up by a relative or friend, thereby doubling the number of vehicle trips to/from the airport. Without an accurate, complete, and documented understanding of this phenomenon, federal, state, and local government agencies—responding to concerns about greenhouse gas emissions or other concerns—may unwittingly enact regulations limiting airport parking that may have the opposite effect to that desired.
In large metropolitan areas where more than one airport offers airline service the availability of parking may also affect the traveler’s choice of airports. Little research has been conducted to verify or quantify how parking constraints affect airport access. Because of the lack of data in these areas, there is an increasing potential that policies and/or strategies could be established that not only will negatively affect airport revenues, but also have an adverse affect on airport roadway operations, air quality, and customer service.
Research is needed to . quantify the changes in airline passenger and airport employee access patterns and travel behavior caused by constrained airport parking, increased rates, and/or remote parking facilities. The research results will be useful to airport operators, public agencies and others in assessing the implications of proposed parking strategies.
The objective of this research is to develop a handbook that airport operators can use to assess the impacts from constrained public and/or employee parking at airports. The handbook will allow airport operators to better understand, anticipate, and evaluate changes in airport parking strategies.
Status: The handbook has been published as Report 34: Handbook to Assess the Impacts of Constrained Parking at Airports.
An Executive Summary is also provided as well as the contractors final report that discusses the research that was used to develop ACRP Report 34.