Greenhouse gases are accumulatin by xiangpeng


									November 12th and 19th 2001

Airport Decentralization: An Emerging and Necessary Trend
Conclusion: Ground Airside to Airside Access

The Decentralization of Airport Operations in Southern California and elsewhere,
has become necessary to accommodate surging air travel demand under the
following constraints:

      Many existing airports are land locked;
      Most of the adverse effects of airport operations are localized in local

However, airport operations gridlock is occurring at a time when local
transportation arteries are also becoming quickly overburdened. This website
has written extensively about the impeding crisis in ground transportation within
our metropolitan regions, particularly Southern California where commuting trip
times are expected to increase dramatically in the coming years. While one of
the objectives of airport decentralization is to reduce the travel distance for air
passengers to the airport, airport decentralization increases the need for a fast,
reliable and affordable transportation link between clustered airports.

Existing transportation modes including commuter rail are not well suited to
provide fast, reliable and affordable transportation between decentralized
airports. In Southern California there are six air carrier airports and three
commuter airports in addition to eleven existing or recently closed military

In order to provide necessary transportation services to these airports, SCAG is
proposing to build a maglev intra-regional system to link subregions and strategic
multi-modal facilities, including major airports in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside
and San Bernardino counties. While Maglev is originally designed to relieve road
congestion and to increase accessibility between the major activity centers of the
region, SCAG estimates that 15-20% of all generated maglev ridership will be air
travel related.

The first operational line will link:

      Union Station to Ontario International Airport
      Ontario International Airport to the airport at Riverside
      Riverside Airport to March (former Air Force base)
      Union Station to LAX

What the Traveling Public Needs May Not Be What SCAG Is Able to

In 1991, Air Canada in cooperation with CP Rail examined the possibility of using
High Speed Rail to enhance airport accessibility from beyond the limitations of a
metropolis to improve the competitive position of the airline. An extensive
survey of passenger expectations was undertaken and the most important
feature that travelers demanded was a SEAMLESS air-high speed rail connection
with integrated ticketing, baggage transfers, and fast affordable transportation

For many reasons that cannot be described in this website owing to limited space
and the confidentiality of the work that was performed, the study team realized
that a seamless connection could never be established if the high speed rail
system was designed according to rail system standards; meaning, multi-vehicle
consists operating with a fixed schedule.

One evident error was very quickly uncovered. Rail operates on a very fixed
schedule that leaves little room for delayed departures. The rail-air connection
works very for outbound passengers, that is leaving from Union Station to get to
March Air Force Base to catch a flight to New York City. But it doesn’t work very
well for inbound passengers, deplaned air passengers from New York City landing
at March to get to downtown Los Angeles. While properly run railroads almost
always operate with precise departure times such as those in Japan, Germany
and France to name a few, even well run airlines have to cope regularly with
unpredicted weather, runway congestion, and security delays. For this reason,
the Air Canada-CP Rail HST study team determined that integrated air-rail tickets
with reserved seating would not work very well. You cannot delay the departure
of an 8 car consist to allow 30 passengers to catch the rail link. And if those
seats were reserved, the seats would go empty costing the rail operator lost seat

One solution that was very quickly identified was to treat the ground access
transportation mode as a mass transit operation, much like the famous
Underground System at Heathrow Airport in London, England. While there is no
reserved seating for the Underground System link to get to London, frequent and
rapid departures provide constant transit service for both inbound and outbound
air passengers. It was obvious to the study team that the rail link would have to
provide several essential mass transit commuting attributes: affordable
transportation and frequent departures with sufficient capacity.

Without going into too much detail, the Air Canada team seized on the
opportunity of using fixed ground airport access links to transport connecting air
passengers between airports. If a secure system could provide rapid direct
airside to airside access for both baggage and air travelers, considerable airline
operating benefits could be generated for the dominant airline operator at a
major hub airport, particularly if the airport to airport range would be between
major metropolitan regions. This would permit airline schedulers and seat yield
managers to adjust their seat inventories to market demand and achieve
significant operating economies.

But the stumbling block preventing direct airside-to-airside access was that the
fixed rail link only featured multicar consists preventing direct airside-to-airside
links. You cannot have a consist where one car of sterile passengers are coupled
with cars of non-sterile passengers. If you could separate the cars into single
vehicles and if the movement of these vehicles from the gate at LAX to the gate
at March Air Force Base could be controlled with automated service, then perhaps
an American Airline passenger landing at LAX could get to March for a direct
American Airlines Regional flight to Omaha, Nebraska without having to clear
security at March.

The Transrapid System that is being considered by SCAG, features a similar
operating system: a multi-car consist operating with limited stations with no off-
line capability.

Because the Magplane Commuter System was originally designed to serve
multiple off-line stations with frequent departures using automated vehicle
movement controls, our system can at least theoretically transfer passengers and
luggage between terminal gates in different metropolitan airports.

The events of September 11th, 2001 have forced airport authorities to revisit and
strengthen security controls for air passengers and it is possible that they would
not look positively at having connecting passengers traveling outside of the
airport grounds in sterile cars. However should issues of air passenger security
be resolved, an airport connecting transit link possessing all of the Magplane
Commuter System features, would enhance the ability of the regional airports
authority in Southern California to exploit the operational potential of a
decentralized but integrated airport system ranging from Palmdale to the north,
March and San Bernardino to the east and even San Diego to the south.

Please visit our airport connect page on this website:

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