ACRP Report 146: Commercial Ground Transportation at Airports: Best Practices is a guidebook that describes best management practices (best practices) that can be used by airport operators and other stakeholders to ensure the provision of safe, comfortable, easy-to-use, and efficient commercial ground transportation service at a variety of types and sizes of airports. Commercial ground transportation services include taxicabs, limousines, shared-ride services, transportation network companies, courtesy vehicles, buses, and vans. The guidebook reviews the ground transportation industry, potential solutions (best practices) to challenges airport operators frequently face, how to select a solution, and how to implement the selected best practice.
Practices include all elements of operations, oversight, procurement, reporting, and regulatory structure. The guidebook addresses models that help deliver high quality customer service, generate airport revenues, are easy to implement, and provide good economic value to the providers. It provides examples of airports where the best practices have been implemented that vary by geographical region and airport size. It presents critical factors of success and limitations from airport, provider, and customer perspectives; and includes methods of setting and collecting airport cost recovery and other fees. The guidebook also addresses standards for vehicles and drivers; types of provider business practices and their effects on the airport’s ability to regulate ground transportation service; and types of regulations and methods used by airports to assure compliance and enforcement of all aspects of ground transportation. Available technologies that can benefit the airport, providers, and the customers; guidelines to ensure the flexibility to accommodate unforeseen changes in airport and commercial ground transportation operations and demands; external factors impacting different operating practices; metrics to assist airports and providers in assessing level of service; environmental initiatives; and common challenges encountered by providers are also addressed.
Managing and controlling commercial ground transportation is a challenge faced by most airports, regardless of their size and location, and the nature of this challenge is changing. Airport operations and traditional transportation services are attempting to adjust to the service offered by transportation network companies. Customers and elected officials are demanding higher quality service and are no longer willing to tolerate poor or overpriced service that can create a negative impression of a community. Community leaders are also becoming increasingly sensitive to the environmental implications of commercial ground transportation services, including opportunities for increased use of alternative fuel vehicles and reductions in unnecessary trips. New technologies are available to improve customer service, monitor trips and operations, and simplify the management of commercial ground transportation services. Airport staff must attempt to balance the frequently conflicting needs and expectations of customers, commercial vehicle drivers, business owners, local regulatory authorities, and other parties, while also controlling airport curbsides and roadways and managing commercial vehicle staging areas. The amount of airport staff time spent addressing these challenges is often out of proportion to the volume of passengers served. Furthermore, as local authorities reduce the resources available to the regulatory staff that has traditionally overseen and enforced these transportation services or relax long-standing standards, airport staff are encountering increased responsibilities and time commitments. Also, the ground transportation service providers need a workable model within the same rules and requirements to effectively compete with the other stakeholders and be successful. Understanding that ground transportation is a reflection of the environment the providers operate in, this is a current resource that provides information for airport operators to determine which ground transportation practices are best suited for their airport.
Under ACRP Project 10-16, research was conducted by Leigh Fisher in association with GateKeeper Systems, Tennessee Transportation and Logistics Foundation, and Merriwether & Williams Insurance Services. Surveys and interviews were conducted
to determine business practices, operational models/methods, strategies, procurement methods, facility configurations, rules and regulations, fees, supporting technologies and other programs used by airport operators to provide, monitor, control, regulate, and enforce commercial ground transportation services.