National Academies Press: OpenBook
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Suggested Citation:"REVIEW OF AIRPORT REGULATORY FRAMEWORK." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Updated Survey of Laws and Regulations Applicable to Airport Commercial Ground Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26003.
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ACRP LRD 39 5 the 44 states surveyed is a representative collection of the types of controversies that have surfaced in practice at airports in the United States. Airport Summary Structure Each airport summary contains the following three sections: (1) state report, (2) airport overview, and (3) local or airport re- port. The state report highlights important laws and regulations that are the most relevant to commercial ground transportation at airports. It should not be relied upon as a comprehensive re- view of a state’s commercial ground transportation regulatory framework. The airport overview describes the applicable air- port authority, the NPIAS classification, the passenger activity, and the regional population (correlated to the catchment area). The overview can be used to see how closely an airport com- pares to the one the audience member is researching. A sepa- rate report section, Overview of Federal Laws and Regulations, summarizes the critical federal laws and regulations governing airports, including the important federal regulatory agencies. REVIEW OF AIRPORT REGULATORY FRAMEWORK Traditional modes of commercial ground transportation at airports have been in existence for multiple decades. In that time frame, certain patterns have emerged in terms of laws and regulations governing ground transportation. Despite the cat- egories in the regulatory framework being similar across states, differences in the details exist within each category. The com- mon categories will be summarized here along with a discussion of typical differences. These categories are the same ones used for the review of the regulatory framework for the 49 commer- cial hub airports. At the heart of regulatory frameworks is the authority given to ground transportation providers to operate at an airport. An authorization could take the form of a permit, license, certifi- cate, agreement, or another document. The authorization could be required of one or more of the following entities: • Operator • Driver • Dispatch service • Other employees Vehicles, often times, also require individual authorization. Such authorization can be transferrable, as in the case of some medallion systems, or they can be tied to only one vehicle. Many require the conspicuous display of authority for opera- tors, drivers, and vehicles in the form of a decal, permit, license, etc. Sometimes the number of permits or licenses is capped at a maximum number to protect against oversupply. This maxi- mum number is adjusted from time to time after a public hear- ing. Universal to all airports is the requirement that those en- gaged in ground transportation comply with all applicable laws and regulations, be it at the federal, state, county, or local level. report also covers Transportation Network Companies, which have altered airport ground transportation over the past decade. Car sharing services, such as Touro and Zipcar, are not ad- dressed explicitly but are treated as car rental companies. In the future, however, the nature and characteristics of the vari- ous modes of ground transportation will morph and adapt. For example, TNCs are developing autonomous vehicle technology leading potentially to fleets of autonomous TNCs servicing air- ports. Such a development could decrease private vehicle own- ership, decrease the need for airport parking and the associated revenue, and change airport land use and infrastructure design. It is said that the law always lags technology; however, it could be beneficial for airports to anticipate the changing nature of ground transportation and to work with ground transportation providers to craft the regulatory schemes of the future. Research Methodology An efficient research methodology was employed, given the large number of states (44) and airports (49) covered and the mul- tiplicity of jurisdictions and regulatory agencies from the federal, state, local, and airport levels. Throughout the research process, the focus was maintained on the regulatory sources that would most impact airport operations. Thus, a bottom up research ap- proach was undertaken. Research on a particular airport often started with the appropriate airport authority first, as it is the agency that directly oversees the airport. Airport staff was con- tacted directly if the regulatory sources were not available on the airport authority website. The research was then expanded to include applicable local ordinances from the relevant cities or counties. State statutes and regulations were then examined, including statewide agencies such as the public utilities or pub- lic service commission. Finally, the United States Code and the Code of Federal Regulations were included. The issue of federal or state preemption was also considered. Additionally, some states chose to regulate TNCs at the state level only. Case history research was performed systematically by key- ing on terms related to commercial ground transportation. Some difficulties were encountered as states and airports varied in their use of ground transportation terms. Therefore, multiple terms were used in queries, such as for-hire vehicles, commer- cial ground transportation, courtesy vehicles, shuttles, buses, transportation network companies, ridesharing, taxicabs, lim- ousines, and livery. The term “taxi” was problematic, as it also refers to aircraft ground movement. Cases from the appropriate federal circuit and state courts were searched. Federal jurisdic- tion often arose from federal law such as the National Labor Relations Act and the Interstate Commerce Clause, and from diversity jurisdiction. Several airport cases were excluded from this review as they were not directly relevant or useful to the audience of this LRD. Many of the excluded cases were criminal cases involving the transportation of drugs or contraband. Ex- amples of the issues in those cases include criminal due process, illegal search and seizure, and civil rights violations. Cases in- volving ground vehicles on the airside were also excluded due to lack of value. The aggregate collection of the case history from

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Commercial ground transportation at U.S. airports includes public transit, door-to-door shuttle van service, charter buses, limousines, rental cars, taxicabs, hotel courtesy shuttles, wheel chair services, and courier operators. Technological developments, such as transportation network companies, car-sharing operations, and driverless cars, have added more options and challenges for airport ground transportation operations.

The TRB Airport Cooperative Research Program's ACRP Legal Research Digest 39: Updated Survey of Laws and Regulations Applicable to Airport Commercial Ground Transportation builds on ACRP LRD 3: Survey of Laws and Regulations of Airport Commercial Ground Transportation from 2008 and synthesizes available guidance, including regulations, statutes, policies, and case decisions (administrative or court) pertaining to commercial ground transportation.


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