The National Academies

ACRP 03-50 [Final]

An Airport-Centric Study of the Urban Air Mobility Market

  Project Data
Funds: $350,000
Research Agency: WSP USA
Principal Investigator: Jagannath Mallela
Effective Date: 7/3/2019
Completion Date: 11/15/2021

Urban air mobility (UAM) is a new and rapidly evolving market, broadly characterized as the local, on-demand movement of people and goods by air using a range of piloted, semi-autonomous, and fully autonomous systems. UAM will affect the airport industry, yet there is little airport-specific research on the topic. Airports need to understand and anticipate the impacts and opportunities of the UAM market, including anticipated market growth, vehicle types and uses, operations and management, community and environmental impacts, regulatory changes, financial implications, and other issues.
The objective of this research is to produce a report that assesses the potential impacts of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) on airports of different sizes and having different levels of activity. The report should include, at a minimum: 
  • A discussion of the UAM market, including technologies, regulatory environment, use cases (e.g., passenger, cargo, and air ambulance), activity projections, and financial viability;
  • A discussion of potential short- and long-term UAM impacts and opportunities for the airport industry;
  • Tools (e.g., matrices, Venn diagrams, flow charts, decision trees) to provide insight into how an individual airport’s unique characteristics and local socioeconomic conditions could define a potential range of impacts and opportunities from UAM;
  • Planning considerations for airports to prepare for the range of identified impacts and opportunities for the following subjects:
    • Passenger, cargo, and aircraft activity;
    • Operations and maintenance;
    • Short-term and long-term airside, terminal, and landside facility requirements;
    • Financing, including revenue generation;
    • Safety and security;
    • Community (e.g., noise, environmental, and compatible land use);
    • Stakeholders (e.g., tenants and business partners); and
    • Opportunities for business development.
  • Case study examples (1) describing current and emerging uses of UAM at airports and (2) illustrating how airports could apply the tools and considerations above; and
  • List of resources and contacts to help airports learn more about and engage in UAM. 

Research is complete.  Results published in ACRP Research Report 243.

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