The National Academies

ACRP Synthesis 11-03/Topic S03-19 [Active (Synthesis)]

Airport Parking Reservation Systems and Techniques
[ ACRP 11-03 (Synthesis of Information Related to Airport Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $55,000
Staff Responsibility: Jordan Christensen
Research Agency: Steer
Principal Investigator: Steven Van Beek
Fiscal Year: 2023


Public parking is typically the largest source of non-aeronautical revenue at commercial airports of all sizes, generating more than $100 million annually at several U.S. airports, and often generating more than twice the revenues of in- terminal retail and restaurant concessions. In 2019 (i.e., prior to the downturn in air travel due to COVID-19), about 40% of the non-aeronautical revenues at primary U.S. airports came from parking. As a result, airport managers seek to manage and enhance parking revenues. One strategy to manage and enhance parking revenues is to use parking reservation systems such as those in place at many European and a few U.S. airports. These systems allow customers, using the internet, to reserve and pay for parking prior to their arrival at the airport. Such systems are referred to as reservation or online booking systems (OBS).

The objective of this synthesis is to describe the deployment of parking reservation systems, their benefits and costs, and the operational and financial results. The audience for this report is airport staff evaluating implementation of innovative parking systems and techniques.

Information to be described in a concise report includes (but is not limited to):
•    Define a parking reservation system.
•    Reasons airport management considered parking reservation systems.
•    Capital costs and operating expenses, for example acquisition of new revenue control systems, operational impacts, and cost of staffing and supporting vendors.
•    Revenue change as a result of parking reservation system deployment and how it’s measured, for example revenue per passenger, margin, and net revenue versus prior comparable period.
•    Benefits and challenges of parking reservation systems, for example for customer or operations.
•    Changes in market share or mode share or number of parkers resulting in the new system and other outcomes.
•    Case examples that include large, medium, and small hub airports representing various levels of parking reservation systems, sophistication, and application. The examples should include airports utilizing different management styles, and examples are provided below: 
o    Less Active Management– ONT, ATL, ORD, DAY
o    More Active Management – TPA, MSP, OAK, PIT, GSP, GRR, IAH
o    Very Active Management– CLT, LAX, SEA, DFW
    Automated Price Management - PHX


Information will be collected through literature review, a survey of airports, and interviews with selected airports (please note vendors should not be interviewed for this synthesis) for the development of case examples. Knowledge gaps and suggestions for future research to address those gaps will be identified.

Partial Information Sources

ACRP Report 24, Guidebook for Evaluating Airport Parking Strategies and Supporting Technology, 2010. https://www.trb.org/Publications/Blurbs/162823.aspx 

ACRP Synthesis 118, Airport Parking Strategies, 2021. https://www.trb.org/Publications/Blurbs/182793.aspx 

Hauptmann, Alexander. Smart Parking at the Pittsburgh International Airport.  Technologies for Safe and Efficient Transportation University Transportation Center; Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, 2019, 7p

TRB Staff
Jordan Christensen
Email: jchristensen@nas.edu

Meeting Dates
First Panel: July 26, 2023
Teleconference with Consultant: September 25, 2023
Second Panel Meeting: March 27, 2024

Topic Panel
Melanie Brown, Houston Airport System    
Jenna Buckner, Ricondo and Associates
Garrett DiCorpo, City of Charlotte Aviation Department    
Ellis Kim, Sam Schwartz Consulting
Peter Mandle,    InterVISTAS Consulting
Dr. Lei Zhu, University of North Carolina

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