The National Academies

ACRP 01-36 [Active]

Advancing the Practice of State Aviation System Planning

  Project Data
Funds: $299,999
Staff Responsibility: Matt J. Griffin
Research Agency: Kimley-Horn & Associates
Principal Investigator: Regan Schnug
Effective Date: 4/29/2019
Completion Date: 10/31/2020


A state aviation system plan provides agencies with an important planning tool to optimize overall system performance.  FAA Advisory Circular 150/5070-7, The Airport System Planning Process, outlines the basic elements of a system plan, yet it does not address specific components that may be unique to individual states.  While the advisory circular provides a good base from which to work, research is needed to guide practitioners on how system plans can better reflect emerging trends, optimize increasingly limited resources, identify roles and responsibilities in managing state aviation systems, and scope system plans that meet the unique needs of each state.
The objective of this research is to develop a guidebook for scoping, developing, and implementing state aviation system plans. The guidebook should build on FAA Advisory Circular 150/5070-7 and allow states and practitioners to tailor their plans to meet their specific needs and governance structures. At a minimum, the guidance should help to: 
  • Set goals, objectives, and strategies;
  • Assess the potential effects that emerging societal, commercial, economic, and technical trends (e.g., unmanned aerial systems, urban air transport, spaceports, on demand cargo) could have their aviation system;
  • Identify value-added studies (e.g., economic impact, sustainability, obstruction mitigation, compatible land use) to complement aviation system planning;
  • Define the system [e.g., airports and related assets and services, airports in the FAA’s National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) vs. non-NPIAS airports];
  • Identify and establish means (e.g., advisory committee) to engage stakeholders (e.g., FAA, various state agencies, state and local officials, airport managers, tenants, users, general public) throughout the process;
  • Inventory the system and collect, store, and analyze data;
  • Define system performance metrics;
  • Conduct market studies and demand forecasts (e.g., unconstrained vs. constrained);
  • Determine facility requirements;
  • Assess funding opportunities, including, federal, state, local, and other sources;
  • Select a method (e.g., priority rating model) to assist in selecting projects for funding;
  • Identify methods for monitoring system performance and determining when an update is needed; and
  • Incorporate these topics in a system plan scope of work (e.g., for an RFP).
 The guidebook should also:
  •  Be easily used and understood by practitioners with varying degrees of expertise, including a non-aviation audience;
  • Feature graphics and tools (e.g., decision trees, flow charts);
  • Include an introduction to state aviation system planning, and its value, and the benefits of integrating the plan with other plans (e.g., master plans, comprehensive plans, state transportation plans, FAA NPIAS);
  • Allow users to target and focus on particular aspects of the system (e.g., cargo, sustainability, geographic areas); and
  • Include supplemental resources (e.g., example scopes of work, glossary, sample stakeholder outreach materials, suggested advisory committee membership).
Research is in progress.  The contractor's interim report is anticipated to be provided for panel review in the fall of 2019.

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