National Academies Press: OpenBook

Guidebook for Developing Ramp Control Facilities (2017)

Chapter: Chapter 1 - Introduction

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Page 10
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Guidebook for Developing Ramp Control Facilities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24668.
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Page 10
Page 11
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Guidebook for Developing Ramp Control Facilities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24668.
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Page 11
Page 12
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Guidebook for Developing Ramp Control Facilities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24668.
×
Page 12
Page 13
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Guidebook for Developing Ramp Control Facilities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24668.
×
Page 13
Page 14
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Guidebook for Developing Ramp Control Facilities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24668.
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Page 14

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10 Guidebook for Developing ramp Control Facilities ramp-related operational challenges affecting the airport. A more in-depth review of these types of consideration topics is detailed in subsequent sections. 2.1.1 Efficiency Efficiency refers to an airline’s ability to operate as scheduled (e.g., an arrivals gate and ramp access ways are available after landing and a departure is able to pushback and exit the ramp at its scheduled time of departure). Airports with ramp control noted the following concerns that can directly impact efficiency: • Gate adjacency issues. These often arise due to the varying sizes of aircraft vying for gate access. For example, an aircraft may not be able to pull up to a gate adjacent to another aircraft whose wingspan extends into its gate space, thereby causing delays. Ramp control can manage these situations. Additionally, gate adjacency agreements can be developed that address the type and sizes of aircraft that can utilize specific parking spots. • Ramp congestion. Ramp congestion, as shown in Figure 5, can occur when the movement of an aircraft (e.g., pushback, tow, taxi) is restricted by other aircraft moving in the ramp, espe- cially at airports with narrow ramps. The significance of ramp congestion can be determined by the number of conflicts that occur within a period of time. For example, if there is an occa- sional conflict between arriving and departing flights, this may not be considered significant; however, if this is a frequent or routine occurrence, then ramp congestion may be considered significant enough to require active ramp control. Irregular operations (IROPS) may be a sig- nificant contributor to ramp congestion or the cause of occasional ramp congestion, depend- ing on the specific airport. • Demand/capacity imbalance. This can occur when there are more arrivals or departures than the gates are able to accommodate. Temporary demand/capacity imbalances may result due to IROPS caused by events such as severe weather. • Terminal complexity. Terminal design affects the layout of the gates and taxi lanes, which impact the movement of aircraft within ramp (apron) areas. As shown in Figure 6, terminal complexity can cause the following issues: – With parallel concourses or terminals, departures may be pushed back in such a way that they block other departures from simultaneously pushing back or taxiing to a transfer point, or prevent arriving aircraft from getting to their gate. – Restrictions on portions of a ramp area, as shown in Figure 7, may prevent simultaneous aircraft movement; therefore, it is important to understand both the restrictions as well as the type of aircraft being moved in the ramp area. Figure 5. Congested ramp space can hamper efficiency.

Decision process and Decision Support tool 11 • Holding pad management. Determining who manages holding pads located within the ramp area may affect efficiency and equity. Choosing a third-party or airline stakeholder to manage holding pads, thereby enabling them to determine the order in which aircraft can enter/ exit a holding area, can potentially result in additional coordination between stakeholders and raise potential concerns about equity. 2.1.2 Safety The airport operators and airlines interviewed both agreed that safety is a number one priority as the consequences of apron accidents and incidents can be substantial in terms of personnel injury and equipment damage. However, ramp control may not be the answer for every safety- related situation. For example, ramp control is not likely to prevent someone from failing to follow established procedures; however, ramp control may be able to alert an airline’s pilot when procedures are not followed. Figure 6. Multiple concourses can complicate ramp operations. Figure 7. Ramp configuration at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport.

12 Guidebook for Developing ramp Control Facilities To further understand the significance of safety concerns at an airport, it is beneficial to dis- tinguish between accidents (e.g., events that cause equipment damage or personnel injury) and incidents (e.g., situations where an accident might have occurred, but did not due to some sort of intervention). It is important to analyze known safety concerns as well as potential safety-related issues in order to fully understand which ones directly relate to ramp control. 2.1.3 Construction Not all construction at an airport will directly affect a ramp, but may impact operational effi- ciency (e.g., gate capacity). Therefore, it is important to determine whether construction proj- ects will improve or diminish operational efficiency not only during the construction phase, but also once construction projects are finished. For example, Figure 8 illustrates how a construction project designed to improve efficiency might also cause ramp-related operational challenges in the near term. During the validation sessions, some airport operators noted that ramp control may be a recommended solution for a short-term construction project that has a significant impact on ramp congestion. Understanding how upcoming capital improvement programs may affect ramp operations in the future is a significant consideration when determining overall ramp control management. 2.1.4 Administrative- and Executive-Level Policies Administrative decisions that may concern ramp control include strategizing long-range expansion plans based on the projected growth of an airport, choosing to implement or expand the use of common-use gates (e.g., common-use gates may impact existing lease agree- ments and also affect which stakeholders are responsible for managing the gate assignment process), or agreeing to provide better management of the ramp (e.g., if a significant number of airlines request that the airport implement ramp control). Additionally, if ramp control is pursued and based on the services that will be provided by the ramp control service providers, Example: Construction Project Scenario: A construction project, which is expected to last six months, will increase the number of ramp exits/entrances and reduce congestion on the ramp. However, for two months in the middle of the construction period, several gates will be unavailable due to their proximity to the construction site. The final result of the project will be improved efficiency, but the interim effect on gate availability and the resulting ramp congestion may be significant enough to warrant considering ramp control. Results: Improved efficiency Impact: Short-term reduction in gate capacity Figure 8. Example: construction project.

Decision process and Decision Support tool 13 Decision Option 2: No. Airport operator and interested stakeholders have initially deter- mined that ramp-related operational challenges or constraints are not likely to be resolved by ramp control, but rather by changes to existing processes or procedures. Ramp control is not currently a viable option. agreements with the FAA to re-adjust portions of the movement areas to non-movement areas may be in order. Understanding how each potential administrative decision may affect ramp operations in the future is significant in the determination of overall ramp control management. For example, senior airport management may be looking to reduce costs or freeze hiring within certain airport departments. These constraints may dictate that ramp control be considered at a later time or be escalated for review before policies are implemented. This type of information is important to obtain prior to doing any further significant analysis related to ramp control decision making. 2.1.5 Decisions from Step 1 Decision Option 1: Yes. Based on the responses to Step 1 questions in Appendix A, Table A-1, or from the Decision Support Tool, an airport operator and interested stakeholders have initially determined that ramp-related operational challenges or constraints are likely to be resolved via ramp control. The airport operator should proceed to Step 2. The Decision Support Tool is available for download from the report summary page at http://www.trb.org/Main/Blurbs/175172.aspx and may be accessed by opening the index.html file in a web-browser. Tool Tip: If ramp control is not considered at this time, information collected may be recorded in the Decision Support Tool as part of formal record- keeping processes. A tool report can be printed, documenting the decision made, and may be used in future discussions in the event circumstances change. 2.2 Scope the Problem (Step 2) The questions listed in Appendix A, Table A-2 (and in the Decision Support Tool) provide a more in-depth look into the ramp-related operational challenges and constraints identified by the airport operators and interested stakeholders. The questions are designed to help the air- port operator understand the impact (significance) of the ramp-related operational challenges. It should be noted that questions asking, “How would you characterize the significance,” of a

14 Guidebook for Developing ramp Control Facilities 2.3 Evaluate Ramp Control Considerations (Step 3) Once the airport operator has determined that a significant ramp-related operational chal- lenge exists, the next step is to evaluate the various ramp control management options based on four areas of concern—people, technology, facility and supporting infrastructure, and administrative/budget. Figure 9 illustrates the consideration topics associated with each area of concern. To evaluate the consideration, the user will use the questions listed in Appendix A, Table A-3. 2.3.1 People It is important to not only understand the roles and responsibilities of those involved in ramp- control-related duties, but also the anticipated staffing levels, training needs, and any procedures that will be required for personnel quality assurance/control. Roles and Responsibilities As noted in Chapter 1, airports vary widely in the type of roles and responsibilities ramp control personnel perform; therefore, it is important that the airport operator identify ahead of time the specific tasks that ramp control is expected to perform. The tasks, or more specifically, the responsibilities of the tasks, may influence the hiring and selection of personnel, i.e., personnel with or without some sort of direct or related ramp con- trol experience. Understanding the specific roles and responsibilities can help determine the particular ramp-related operational challenge or constraint are asking for a subjective evaluation of the impact. It should be understood that the individual stakeholder may perceive the impact differently (e.g., ramp congestion affecting an airline that operates one flight a day and that flight is routinely impacted by ramp congestion may be perceived differently than an airline with a significant presence at the airport and the impact of ramp congestion is spread to other flights). Therefore, in scoping the problem, it may be important to take into account the differences in the perceived problem and impact on the individual stakeholders. 2.2.1 Decision from Step 2 Answers from questions in Appendix A, Table A-2 (and from the Decision Support Tool) can help identify which stakeholders are affected most by the ramp-related operational challenges and constraints, and may provide an initial indication as to which stakeholder could/should perform ramp control. At this point, the user has narrowed down which stakeholders are most affected by ramp-related management options and to what degree. The airport operator should proceed to Step 3. The Decision Support Tool is available for download from the report summary page at http://www.trb.org/Main/Blurbs/175172.aspx and may be accessed by opening the index.html file in a web-browser.

Next: Chapter 2 - Decision Process and Decision Support Tool »
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TRB's Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Research Report 167: Guidebook for Developing Ramp Control Facilities provides guidance to airport operators considering providing ramp control services. An accompanying

Ramp Control Decision Support Tool

assists users through most considerations before providing ramp control services, including facility requirements, staffing, training, and technology and other factors, allowing the user to determine the best way to move forward.

The Ramp Control Decision Support Tool is implemented in a sequence of HTML files and Javascript libraries that can be navigated using a web browser. The current version of the tool supports Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers.

In order to use the install and start the tool please use the following steps:

1. Copy the provided zip file with the tool to a local directory.

2. Unzip the contents of the zip file to this directory.

3. Open index.html file using either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

4. The welcome page provides a general overview of the tool.

5. Click on the Get Started button to start uisng the tool. This will lead to Step 1 questions.

6. Provide responses to questions included in Step 1 and when done click on the Next button.

7. Repeat for Steps 2 and 3.

8. When done answering the questions for all three steps click on Report to automatically generate a report with all provided answers.

9. The report can be printed by clicking on Print button.

Disclaimer: This software is offered as is, without warranty or promise of support of any kind either expressed or implied. Under no circumstance will the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine or the Transportation Research Board (collectively "TRB") be liable for any loss or damage caused by the installation or operation of this product. TRB makes no representation or warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, in fact or in law, including without limitation, the warranty of merchantability or the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, and shall not in any case be liable for any consequential or special damages.

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