Systems-Level Analysis of On Demand Mobility for Aviation
Author(s)Vascik, Parker; Hansman, R. John
On Demand Mobility (ODM) is an emerging transportation concept that leverages pervasive telecommunication connectivity to enable the real-time matching of consumers with transportation service providers. Having experienced rapid adoption in ground transportation markets, numerous entities are now investigating opportunities to provide aircraft-based ODM within metropolitan areas. Previous research efforts have focused primarily on the technical capabilities of novel electric propulsion aircraft and sought to characterize the market potential for these vehicles. This thesis complements these initial efforts by adopting a broad view of anticipated aircraft-based ODM services to identify operational constraints and evaluate near and far-term mitigation opportunities. A systems-level analysis was used to capture interdisciplinary influence factors such as limitations placed on ODM networks as a result of air traffic control, ground infrastructure integration, network load balancing, unmanned aircraft interaction and community noise, among others. The holistic considerations of this analysis extend beyond the traditional conceptual design disciplines of engineering and business to include evaluative perspective from the legal, policy, urban planning and sustainability domains. The first order, systems-level analysis approach for early-phase conceptual design developed in this thesis was applied to a case study in Los Angeles. Promising markets were identified based upon current commuting and wealth patterns. A notional concept of operations was then applied to twelve reference missions within these markets. Scrutiny of these missions revealed a variety of operational challenges from which five preeminent constraints were derived. These constraints may limit or prohibit ODM aircraft operations and include ground infrastructure availability, aircraft noise emissions and air traffic control scalability. Furthermore, significant legal and policy challenges were identified related to low altitude flight, environmental impacts and community acceptance. Findings from this thesis may support the ODM community to develop a system architecting plan that directs technology investments, stakeholder negotiations and network implementation so as to overcome the identified constraints and avoid or internalize negative externalities.
On Demand Mobility, ODM, air transportation