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Airport Landside Data: Collection and Application (2023)

Chapter: Chapter 1 - Introduction

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Airport Landside Data: Collection and Application. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27403.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Airport Landside Data: Collection and Application. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27403.
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3   1.1 Study Purpose and Overview Without data, understanding the passenger journey can mean relying on intuition or respond- ing to problems and complaints only as customers reveal them. Monitoring performance by collecting and interpreting data can proactively detect change and measure the effectiveness of responses to change. Understanding and improving the airport customer experience requires identifying the “who, what, when, where, and how” of the passengers’ journey, and a signifi- cant source of that insight can be the data collected and their interpretation. This synthesis was prepared to provide airport operators and others with information on how airports document, collect, analyze, interpret, and apply data from their landside facilities. The goal of this synthesis is to provide airport stakeholders with a better understanding of (a) how many airports actively pursue data collection, (b) the data that airports consider to be important in informing decision-making, and (c) challenges encountered during data collection, storage, or application to decision-making. This information is anticipated to assist those planning and operating ground transportation and terminal facilities and seeking to use data for making decisions about planning, design, customer experience, and day-to-day operations. Subsequent sections of this report describe: • Why data are important to airports (Chapter 1) • How this synthesis was prepared (Chapter 2) • A summary of web-enabled survey responses (Chapter 3) • Data collection at airports (Chapter 4) • Use of data at airports to inform decision-making (Chapter 5) • A summary of the case examples and lessons learned (Chapter 6) • Conclusions and future research needs (Chapter 7) • A glossary, list of acronyms, references and bibliography, and appendices containing a copy of the survey instrument used to conduct this report, survey results, and summaries of inter- views with airport staff. 1.2 Topics Not Addressed in This Report This report does not address data collection and its use in decision-making for short- and long- term parking and rental car services. However, it contains limited information on these topics. Thus, the report does not address parking and revenue control systems and the data provided by such systems. It does not address rental cars and the variety of data that rental car companies C H A P T E R   1 Introduction For this synthesis, “landside” is defined as the on-airport roadways and curbsides serving passengers and the public areas of the passenger terminal building between the building entrances and where passengers scan boarding passes during aircraft boarding.

4 Airport Landside Data: Collection and Application provide for planning rental car facilities, such as ready and return areas or consolidated rental car facilities (CONRAC). These topics are addressed by other ACRP publications, including ACRP Report 24: Guidebook for Evaluating Airport Parking Strategies and Supporting Technologies (Jacobs Consultancy et al. 2009) and ACRP Research Report 225: Rethinking Airport Parking Facilities to Protect and Enhance Non-Aeronautical Revenues (InterVISTAS Consulting Inc. et al. 2021). Additionally, this report does not address the increasing number of laws devoted to data pri- vacy and the full legal implications of data collection at airports. However, this report does provide a summary of legal issues. These topics are addressed in ACRP Legal Research Digests (LRDs), such as ACRP LRD 42: Legal Implications of Data Collection at Airports (Zoufal et al. 2021). 1.3 Why Data Are Important to Airports Airports are complex transportation hubs that are critical in the global transportation system. Landside and terminal data collection and analysis at airports have become increasingly important as they enable airport operators to monitor and improve numerous aspects of airport operations. Data analysis provides an understanding of the passenger journey and requires quantitative and qualitative data, such as airport staff intuition, in-field observations, and records of customer com- plaints. Quantitative data can explain underlying issues that may not be visually apparent, while qualitative information can be crucial in ensuring that quantitative data are fully understood and applied correctly and identify behaviors that typical quantitative data collection methods cannot capture. To enhance the airport customer experience, airport staff indicated they need to com- prehensively understand landside travel, including the travelers, their activities, timing, location, and overall experience. Airport staff also indicate that data are crucial in helping them improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of airport operations. Collecting and analyzing data makes it possible to address problems and proactively assess the implementation of improvements. Survey respondents and case example interviewees indicate that data collection at their airport is important for several reasons: • Planning and design: Data collection and analysis play a critical role in the planning and design of airport facilities. Information on passenger movements, vehicle traffic patterns, and access routes can provide valuable insights into the needs of the airport and help to inform the design of new facilities or improvements to existing ones. The data can be used to evaluate design and operational scenarios, forecast future demand, and assess the impact of changes. • Customer experience: Airports are increasingly focused on enhancing the customer experi- ence, and data can greatly enhance and support these efforts. By collecting data on passenger wait times, congestion points, and other key performance indicators, airport operators can identify areas for improvement and make changes to enhance the passenger experience. • Day-to-day operations: Effective day-to-day operations of airport landside facilities require data collection and analysis. Information on vehicle traffic patterns, passenger wait times, concessions usage, and access routes can be used to optimize operations and reduce delays, improving the overall efficiency of the airport. Additionally, employee information is used to understand the mode of travel to the airport by employees, optimize any shuttle services to transport employees from parking locations, minimize the travel time for employees, and ensure adequate parking for employees. • Performance monitoring: The ongoing process of collecting, analyzing, and reporting ulti- mately identifies areas for improvement and is crucial for monitoring airport landside facili- ties’ performance. Information on key performance indicators, such as passenger wait times for ground transportation or other services and vehicular traffic patterns, can be used to iden- tify trends and make data-driven decisions to improve the airport’s performance.

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Airports collect data to help understand the customer journey from the entrance or access points of the airport to the boarding gates. Processes may change in order to improve the customer experience when the collected data are analyzed.

ACRP Synthesis 132: Airport Landside Data: Collection and Application, from TRB's Airport Cooperative Research Program, documents landside data, collection methods, analysis, and interpretation and discusses how that information affects airport decision-making.

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