The National Academies

ACRP 03-23 [Final]

Integrating Aviation and Passenger Rail Planning

  Project Data
Funds: $400,000
Research Agency: Resource Systems Group, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Matthew Coogan
Effective Date: 7/29/2010
Completion Date: 6/30/2014

ACRP Report 118: Integrating Aviation and Passenger Rail Planning identifies planning process options, funding challenges, and potential actions to improve integration of rail services with airports, particularly in congested corridors.  The report identifies the challenges involved in a variety of institutional settings in different regions and develops ways to better integrate inter-agency planning processes. It identifies specific site planning and service coordination actions to promote air rail transfers, defines the data and analysis capabilities needed to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of improved integration of air and rail services, and demonstrates the application of methods and tools to support integrated planning for air and rail services and decision making.  Key issues covered include rail and air in a competitive and complimentary mode. 
The report has an accompanying CD-ROM that includes an Air/Rail Diversion model, a sketch planning tool capable of supporting the evaluation of a range of policy actions that affect choice of air or rail for long distance travel.  A User Guide provides direction in applying the model to evaluate different scenarios and a Technical Appendix provides supplemental information for the model. The report and accompanying tool will be of interest to airport and rail operators, state and regional transportation planners, and other interested stakeholders.
Passenger rail systems interact with aviation systems in several ways. ACRP Report 118 is structured to help the practitioner understand the manner in which rail makes a contribution to the intermodal system by helping air passengers gain access to airports, and the manner in which rail makes a contribution to the intermodal system by diverting traffic from congested airports. In both cases, the full system may become more efficient as airports become more focused on critical long-distance tripmaking, with rail efficiently transporting people in shorter distance contexts. In both cases, the data, tools, and methods may or may not be in place to support the analysis of multimodal and intermodal systems and strategies. This research has examined the market-based performance of these services, commenced the examination of the adequacy of the analytical tools available, and developed new tools in response to the gaps revealed.
The public and private sectors are analyzing the expenditure of billions of dollars on intercity and regional passenger rail projects and airport development projects. However, it is not clear that there is a solid set of standardized, agreed-on methodologies to use when complicated questions are asked about the impacts of passenger rail services on issues such as airport capacity. There is a lack of accepted tools to use in documenting the interrelationship between these modal investments. Most important, there is a lack of a discussion regarding the potential complementary investments in aviation and rail systems in North America.  In many parts of the world, rail and air investments are seen as complementary elements of a larger multimodal and intermodal public policy. 
Under ACRP Project 03-23, research was led by Resources Systems Group, Inc. in association with Matthew Coogan, an independent consultant who served as Principal Investigator for the project.   As part of the research, the team examined experience in the United States and Europe where rail systems interact with air systems in order to identify the quality of tools and methods and the benefits of effective modal combinations for services in an intermodal context.  
STATUS: This research has been published as Report 118    

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