National Academies Press: OpenBook

Airport Landside Data: Collection and Application (2023)

Chapter: Chapter 4 - Terminal and Landside Data Collection at Airports

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Terminal and Landside Data Collection at Airports." 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 4 - Terminal and Landside Data Collection at Airports." 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 4 - Terminal and Landside Data Collection at Airports." 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 4 - Terminal and Landside Data Collection at Airports." 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 4 - Terminal and Landside Data Collection at Airports." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Airport Landside Data: Collection and Application. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27403.
×
Page 20
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Terminal and Landside Data Collection at Airports." 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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Page 21

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16 This section provides an overview regarding the different kinds of data collected at airports; the technologies and systems used to collect data; the expenses associated with acquiring, ana- lyzing, and maintaining the data; and the legal challenges that may arise from data collection and storage. Information presented in this section was collected through interviews with air- port staff based on their survey responses. Airport staff indicated that airport data collection could be a critical component of landside operations management, providing valuable insights into passenger patterns and flow, facility utilization, customer experience, ground transporta- tion services utilization, and terminal operations. Airport staff also indicated that effective data collection, analysis, and reporting can help airport operators make data-driven decisions to optimize landside operations, improve the passenger experience, and ultimately support plan- ning and development at the airport. 4.1 Types of Data Collected at Airports This section provides an overview of the various types of landside data collected at airports. Key types of data that are reportedly collected include: 1. Passenger flow and demand: These data include passenger volume, arrival and departure times, origin and destination information, and passenger demographics. 2. Terminal and facility utilization: These data include the utilization of terminal and other landside facilities, such as baggage handling systems, passenger processing times at specific locations, passenger accumulation at specific locations, restroom usage, and concessions usage. 3. Customer experience: These data include passenger satisfaction, customer feedback, and perceptions of airport services. 4. Ground transportation: These data include information about vehicle volume, mode share, vehicle classification, and curbside dwell times associated with ground transportation services such as taxis, transportation network companies (TNCs), hotel/motel shuttles, airport- operated shuttles, and public transportation operators. 5. Employee: These data include information about the mode choice for employees, parking location, and parking permit data. 4.2 How Data Are Collected, and the Systems/ Technologies Used Data collection at airports involves using various systems and technologies to gather and analyze information about airport operations. These systems and technologies range from passenger holdroom intercept surveys, Wi-Fi intercept surveys, and focus groups to vendor C H A P T E R   4 Terminal and Landside Data Collection at Airports

Terminal and Landside Data Collection at Airports 17   reporting, direct observations, and automated electronic monitoring systems [e.g., automated people counters (APCs)]. Each of these data collection methods has its strengths and weaknesses, and airports must choose the correct tool or combination of tools to effectively collect and analyze data that will inform their decision-making processes. ACRP Research Report 235: Guidebook for Conducting Airport User Surveys and Other Customer Research (Franz et al. 2021) provides guid- ance on many data collection methods, including focus groups and intercept surveys. 4.2.1 Vendor Reporting One common method of data collection at airports is through vendor reporting. Data on many airport-related services, such as concessions and ground transportation (e.g., Uber and Lyft), are provided by third-party vendors or operators. These vendors are often required (as part of their business agreement with an airport) to provide data about their operations, such as pas- senger volume, transaction and sales data, and customer satisfaction metrics. This information can be used to understand the demand for these services and inform future planning and invest- ment decisions. However, relying on vendor-provided data can have limitations, as vendors may have incentives to understate or overstate certain metrics. 4.2.2 Direct Observation Another method of data collection at airports is through direct observation. Direct observa- tion can involve sending teams of observers to different parts of the airport to gather information about passenger behavior and operations. For example, teams may observe the number of pas- sengers waiting in line at ticketing or security, the time it takes to process passengers at security, or the number of passengers using various amenities in the terminal. Direct observation can provide accurate and detailed information, but it can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. 4.2.3 Automated Electronic Monitoring Systems Automated electronic monitoring systems are also commonly used to collect data at airports. These systems can track real-time passenger movement, vehicle traffic, and resource utilization. For example, cameras can monitor passenger processing times, and combined with artificial intelligence (AI) software, track the number of passengers in each queue and the time it takes to clear security. An example of this technology is CrowdVision, which uses real-time computer vision and artificial intelligence to track and analyze the flow of people. Another example is automatic traffic recorder (ATR) machines, such as roadway tube counters or inductive loops embedded in the pavement, which record the traffic volume crossing the detector. Automated systems can provide a wealth of data quickly but can also be expensive to implement and main- tain. Busy airports (i.e., large hubs) appear more likely to invest in such systems to collect data continuously. In contrast, less busy airports appear to deploy such systems as needed for specific data collection efforts. 4.2.4 Focus Groups Focus groups are another commonly used method of data collection at airports. A focus group involves interviews with a few individuals with similar demographic characteristics or other common traits or experiences. This method typically involves bringing a small number of passengers together to discuss their experiences at the airport and gather feedback on specific issues. Focus groups can be useful for gathering qualitative data to inform future planning and investment decisions. For example, focus groups can provide insights into why passengers prefer certain types of ground transportation or which amenities they value most in the terminal.

18 Airport Landside Data: Collection and Application 4.2.5 Intercept Surveys Passenger intercept surveys are a commonly used method of data col- lection at airports. These surveys typically involve gathering data from pas- sengers as they wait in the holdroom before boarding their flight. Passengers may be asked questions about their experiences at the airport, their satisfac- tion with various airport services, their preferences for different amenities, their mode of travel to the airport, the duration of their trip, the purpose of the trip, and their location of origin. Holdroom intercept surveys can provide extensive data about passenger behavior and preferences. Still, they may not be able to capture arriving passengers or those who use airline clubs or arrive at the gate just before boarding. Wi-Fi intercept surveys at airports involve collecting passengers’ data through their device’s Wi-Fi connection. When passengers connect to the airport’s Wi-Fi network, various types of information can be collected (via brief survey questions), ranging from the passenger’s mode of travel to the airport to their use of concessions and other facilities to demographic information. These data can help airports understand passenger behavior, identify potential challenges, and enhance the overall passenger experience. This method is commonly used because it is a non-intrusive and cost-effective way to collect passenger data. Jackson Hole Airport provides an example of a Wi-Fi intercept survey. After agreeing to the common use agreement, passengers are directed to a Wi-Fi survey link, shown in Figure 4-1, and continue to a series of survey questions. Patchan (2007) describes how the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority used several different data collection methods for monitoring ground transportation customer service, including focus groups, intercept surveys, comment cards, mystery shoppers, and website-based customer inquiries. (Source: Jackson Hole Airport) Figure 4-1. Wi-Fi intercept survey introduction.

Terminal and Landside Data Collection at Airports 19   4.3 Costs of Data Collection The costs of data collection at airports can include the costs of acquisition, analysis, mainte- nance, and other associated expenses such as staff time and equipment. To minimize these costs and maximize the value of data collection efforts, airport operators must use cost-effective data collection methods, establish clear goals and priorities, and continuously evaluate and improve data collection processes and systems. The costs associated with collecting data at airports can vary greatly depending on the data types and the methods used. The following are some of the key expenses associated with data collection at airports: • Acquisition cost: The cost of acquiring the data collection systems or technologies is one of the most significant investments associated with data collection. The costs can include pur- chasing or leasing hardware, such as sensors (e.g., embedded loop detectors in the pavement or Bluetooth tracking sensors) or cameras (e.g., automated license plate readers), as well as the cost of software, licenses, and maintenance agreements. The fees for acquiring these systems can vary widely depending on the complexity and capabilities of the systems, as well as the vendor or manufacturer of the systems. Additionally, the cost of the data collection method can vary greatly. For example, a Wi-Fi intercept survey used to collect information from customers will likely be much less expensive than a passenger intercept survey, which typically requires a third-party contractor or airport employee to conduct. • Analysis cost: Once data have been collected, data must be analyzed to extract meaningful insights and information. This analysis can be done using various methods, such as statistical analysis, machine learning, or data visualization techniques. The cost of analyzing the data can vary widely depending on the complexity of the data and the methods used for analysis. In some cases, the analysis can be performed in-house using existing resources, while in other cases, it may be necessary to hire specialized consultants or contractors. • Storage and maintenance cost: The cost of storing and maintaining the data collected at air- ports can be substantial, especially if large volumes of data are being collected continuously. The costs can include the price of physical storage devices, such as hard drives or cloud-based storage solutions, and the cost of software and hardware maintenance agreements. Some- times, the data may need to be stored for an extended period to meet regulatory requirements or for future analysis. • Other associated costs: In addition to the costs associated with acquiring, analyzing, and storing the data, there are other expenses associated with data collection that must be taken into consideration. These can include the cost of personnel and equipment required to collect and manage the data and the cost of any additional software or tools required to support the data collection process. Additionally, there may be costs associated with ensuring the security and privacy of the data, such as the cost of encryption and other security measures. Overall, the price tag for collecting data at airports can be substantial, and it is important to carefully consider the costs and benefits of any data collection program before proceeding. The decision to invest in data collection can be based on the airport’s understanding of the business requirements and the potential benefits of the data, as well as a comprehensive analysis of the costs and risks associated with the data collection process. Data collected at airports are critical to effectively operating and managing these facilities. While significant costs are associated with collecting the data, these expenses can be offset by the benefits realized through the effective use of the data. As such, it is important for airports to carefully consider the costs and benefits of data collection and to invest in the systems and technologies that best support their business needs and goals.

20 Airport Landside Data: Collection and Application 4.4 Legal Issues Encountered from Data Collection or Storage In addition to financial considerations, airport operators must be aware of legal data collec- tion and storage issues. These issues may include privacy laws, data protection regulations, and other legal requirements related to data security and confidentiality. Airport operators can avoid costly legal penalties and protect sensitive data by complying with all relevant legal requirements. The legal requirements surrounding data collection and storage in the United States are com- plex and evolving. ACRP LRD 42: Legal Implications of Data Collection at Airports (Zoufal et al. 2021) offers guidelines to data collectors on the relevant laws and regulations, including federal, state, and international, outlining the compliance obligations and potential consequences of non-compliance. This section briefly summarizes selected relevant information but is not meant to be exhaustive. Several legal requirements in the United States govern the collection and storage of data at airports. The United States data protection and privacy laws are structured to create complex legal requirements that may differ by location, thus resulting in considerable legal and practical hurdles for data collection and use across state boundaries. As a vital part of the international travel industry, airports should be aware of the increasing global legal attention given to data pri- vacy and the need to properly manage personal data. As a result, airports and their stakeholders must seek legal counsel to navigate the laws within their state and those in other states to ensure their data protection and privacy programs appropriately manage legal risk. With respect to the application of federal laws, there is no comprehensive law governing the collection and use of personal data. Still, several federal laws pertain to specific sectors or catego- ries of data, such as public health. Legal uncertainty also exists concerning an airport operator’s data collection on behalf of a federal agency. Accordingly, a federal agency’s request for the air- port operator to collect personal data on its behalf needs to be scrutinized to ensure compliance with applicable privacy laws. In the absence of a comprehensive federal law applicable to commercial parties’ data collec- tion, there are also numerous state laws regulating data collection and storage, including data breach notification laws and laws requiring the encryption of personal information. It is impor- tant for organizations that collect and store data to stay informed about the applicable laws and regulations and to take steps to comply with these requirements. Moreover, airport operators need to educate themselves about the application of the laws of the state where their airport is located and other states’ laws governing the collection, retention, and sharing of data about their residents. In other words, some states (e.g., Illinois and California) extend legal protections to their residents’ data regardless of whether the information is collected in or out of their home state. It is also worth noting that the European Union has extended protections to its residents’ data via the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Those protections can apply in several circumstances, including where the data processing pertains to offering goods or services to EU residents. One of the key challenges in ensuring compliance with these legal requirements is balancing the need to collect and store data for business purposes with the need to protect individuals’ privacy rights. For example, while collecting passenger flow and demand data can help optimize resource utilization and improve the passenger experience, it is important to ensure that data are collected and stored in a way that complies with privacy laws and regulations. This compliance may involve using privacy-enhancing technologies, such as encryption and de-identification

Terminal and Landside Data Collection at Airports 21   techniques, to protect personal information and adopting policies and procedures to ensure that data are collected, stored, and used in a manner that complies with legal requirements. In addition to these technical measures, it is also important for airports to provide transparent notice to individuals about their data collection and storage practices and to obtain consent for these practices where required by law. Robust data security practices, such as regular security audits and data backup and recovery procedures, can help airports minimize the risk of data breaches and unauthorized access to personal information. The legal requirements surrounding data collection and storage in the United States are com- plex, multifaceted, and in flux. Organizations must be proactive in ensuring compliance with these requirements. By adopting a “privacy by design” approach and implementing robust pri- vacy and security practices, organizations can minimize the risk of legal challenges and ensure that their data collection and storage practices are consistent with the privacy rights of indi- viduals. Multiple sources can provide legal advice and guidelines on best practices for com- plying with applicable data protection laws and incorporating privacy considerations into the design and development of products, services, and systems that are secure, efficient, and protec- tive of personal data and privacy from the outset.

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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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