Airport access via rail transit : what works and what doesn't
Author(s)Schank, Joshua (Joshua Levi), 1975-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Nigel H.M. Wilson.
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Despite their potential for providing efficient and reliable airport access, rail connections to U.S. airports have consistently had trouble attracting a significant percentage of airport passengers. This thesis attempts find out which characteristics of airport rail links most strongly influence mode share so that future rail link plans can be assessed. These findings are then applied to the current plans for an airport rail link in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The thesis begins by examining current airport rail links in the U.S. Detailed case studies are performed for the following airports: John F. Kennedy, Philadelphia, Boston Logan, Washington National, Chicago O'Hare, Chicago Midway, and San Jose. Smaller case studies are performed for Atlanta, Cleveland, St Louis, Baltimore-Washington, Miami, and Oakland. The data collected for these airports is compared by looking for relationships between characteristics of the rail links and their mode shares. Two variables, rail travel time and the difference between rail and auto travel time, are apparently related to rail link mode share. Several propositions are advanced about the characteristics of airport rail links that affect mode share, and the way in which they affect mode share. The strongest of these propositions are that the lower the travel time difference between rail and auto the greater the rail mode share, that on-airport rail stations are likely to increase mode share, and that effectively serving population and employment centers is likely to increase airport rail link mode share. Some further analysis is then performed on two of the propositions advanced. First, the relevance of the airport rail station location is tested by looking at the effect on mode share at Washington National when the rail station was, in effect, moved closer to the airport terminal. This analysis indicates that it is likely that the location of an airport rail station is related to mode share. Second, an analysis of population and employment around airport rail link stations is performed for Boston, New York City, and Chicago. This analysis indicates that the rail links examined serve a very small percentage of the population and jobs in their respective metro areas. This makes sense since rail links in these cities all have relatively low mode shares. Finally, a case study of San Juan is presented. This case study is different than the previous ones since the San Juan link is in the planning stages. After the San Juan plan is presented, each proposition developed earlier is applied to the San Juan case to determine the potential effect of that proposition on mode share for the San Juan link. This analysis and a model for calculating mode share based on rail/auto time difference help to predict mode share for San Juan. The mode share for San Juan is likely to be between 2% and 5%. The thesis concludes with potential changes to the plan that might help increase that figure.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 1999.Includes bibliographical references (p. 139-140).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.