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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Urban Air Mobility: An Airport Perspective. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26899.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Urban Air Mobility: An Airport Perspective. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26899.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Urban Air Mobility: An Airport Perspective. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26899.
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1   Urban Air Mobility: An Airport Perspective Urban Air Mobility (UAM), or its generalized version, advanced air mobility (AAM), is an emerging aerial transportation approach that involves the operation of highly automated aircraft for a safe and efficient system to transport passengers or cargo at lower altitudes of airspace within urban, suburban, and exurban areas. Concerns regarding climate change, greenhouse gases, and frustration with current transportation systems have prompted extensive research and funding encompassing AAM to help mitigate these issues. Industry has long sought ways to address the widespread and complex problems of congestion; pollution; and access to efficient, convenient, and affordable transportation options. AAM can add another transportation option to integrate into a multimodal system to connect people to cities and regions. UAM is purported to bring major benefits to the air transport and surface transport sectors with the potential to change the way people live, work, and receive goods. NASA has been working to improve air traffic management and researching solutions to safely integrate Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System. Still, barriers remain, including safety certification of autonomous vehicle systems, commu- nity noise impacts from vehicle operations, cyber security protections, and integration with existing air operations, among others (NASA 2017). UAM is focused on urban and suburban operations; it is a subset of AAM, which is a broader term incorporating use cases not specific to operations in urban environments. The emerging use cases associated with AAM include Passenger Air Mobility, Air Cargo, and Emergency Services. As this nascent industry evolves, it will be helpful for airport practitioners to understand how and where they may fit in this environment, the challenges UAM may have on current operations, the growth opportunities that AAM may present, and tools to assist with planning its use. This report presents a guide for work performed as part of the Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Project 03-50: Urban Air Mobility: An Airport Perspective. The report summarizes the motivations for UAM for airports, assesses the market, and describes emerging use cases with a solid business case for airport applications. It provides assessment tools for airport operators to determine readiness for UAM, multimodal integration, and community outreach. It also describes a strategy for engaging with airport stakeholders to better understand their perspectives, views of policy, and planning considerations regarding the operational integration of UAM. Who Are the Guide and Toolkit For? The Guide and toolkit are intended primarily for airport industry practitioners, but the information can be relevant to others seeking guidance for UAM-related topics. S U M M A R Y

2 Urban Air Mobility: An Airport Perspective How to Use the Guide and Toolkit UAM operations at airports are in their nascency; therefore, this Guide aims to clearly define the major technological and regulatory uncertainties that are still to be defined. The Guide and toolkit should be used in tandem to achieve the full benefit from the research. This assessment tool is designed to provide airport practitioners an understanding of their readiness to prepare for UAM and direct them to resources in the Guide that will provide the greatest benefit for advancing capability maturity. Once completed, the tool can be used to assess and recommend a Go/No-Go decision. Guide Organization The Guide provides airport operators with a robust and practical understanding of the airport UAM market, a detailed evaluation of the impacts and opportunities for airports and airport stakeholders, planning strategies for integrating UAM into airports, and a step-by- step guide on how to use the interactive toolkit through an individual airport’s planning process for UAM operations. The Guide is broken down into nine primary sections, as illustrated in Figure 1. Chapter 1: Introduction This chapter defines UAM and describes some of the goals for UAM, especially as they pertain to airports. Chapter 2: Market Assessment This chapter provides airports with a detailed set of perspectives on the underlying drivers and market forces that underpin the Passenger Air Mobility, Air Cargo, and Emergency Ser- vices use cases for airport-based UAM operations. The research team’s assessment provides downside, baseline, and upside scenarios for user adoption to help airports understand the full array of potential activity levels airports may need to address. Chapter 3: Use Cases and Applications for Urban Air Mobility This chapter discusses the motivation and primary UAM use cases for Passenger Air Mobility, Air Cargo, and Emergency Services. The chapter also includes applications and UAM aircraft operations for each use case to illustrate the industry’s current state worldwide and how it can apply to airports. Figure 1. Guide outline.

Summary 3   Chapter 4: Business Case and Implications for Airports This chapter discusses business cases, implications, and guidance for integrating UAM at airports, which include the following: • The motivation behind UAM for airports • Guidance on community and stakeholder engagement, including key messages • Implications and guidance for UAM at airports, including funding considerations, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and NASA coordination, and insurance considerations • Multimodal integration considerations regarding the means to efficiently integrate UAM with other multimodal transportation options • Considerations for airport organizational and training requirements, airport infrastructure, funding, and partnerships Chapter 5: Impact Assessment and Opportunities for Urban Air Mobility This chapter offers insight into the impact UAM may have on airport developers and operators and their supporting communities. It further discusses unique opportunities for this nascent industry from growth in air passenger travel and freight shipping. Chapter 6: Planning Strategies for Integrating Urban Air Mobility into Airports This chapter provides guidance on planning strategies for UAM, including • Applicable policies and standards, • Policymaking efforts, • Facilities, • Utilities and support infrastructure, and • Corridor planning. Chapter 7: Airport Interactive Toolkit This chapter offers insight into using the interactive toolkit that supplements the Guide to provide practical tools for airports to assess and improve their readiness for UAM operations. It can also be used to help airport practitioners make a final determination and provide considerations for a Go/No-Go decision for UAM integration. Chapter 8: Key Study Findings and Recommendations for Further Research This chapter offers a conclusion of the research including discussions of areas for future research needs. List of Acronyms and Abbreviations A list of frequently used acronyms and abbreviations follows the report. This is not a section in the Guide outline. References This section provides a comprehensive list of the references used in the research. Appendix The Appendix provides a list of some of the federal definitions as they pertain to Advanced Air Mobility and air operations.

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Urban Air Mobility (UAM), or its generalized version, Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), is an emerging aerial transportation approach that involves the operation of highly automated aircraft for a safe and efficient system to transport passengers or cargo at lower altitudes of airspace within urban, suburban, and exurban areas. UAM initiatives are advancing in many communities and will likely bring many societal changes.

The TRB Airport Cooperative Research Program's ACRP Research Report 243: Urban Air Mobility: An Airport Perspective provides a comprehensive examination of the emerging UAM industry, with a particular focus on its impacts and opportunities for airports.

Supplemental to the report are an Airport AAM Preparation Checklist and a UAM Airport Assessment Toolkit.

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