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Suggested Citation:"User Guide." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Toolkit for Establishing Airport Catchment Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27424.
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Suggested Citation:"User Guide." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Toolkit for Establishing Airport Catchment Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27424.
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Suggested Citation:"User Guide." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Toolkit for Establishing Airport Catchment Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27424.
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Suggested Citation:"User Guide." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Toolkit for Establishing Airport Catchment Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27424.
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Suggested Citation:"User Guide." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Toolkit for Establishing Airport Catchment Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27424.
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Suggested Citation:"User Guide." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Toolkit for Establishing Airport Catchment Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27424.
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Suggested Citation:"User Guide." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Toolkit for Establishing Airport Catchment Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27424.
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Suggested Citation:"User Guide." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Toolkit for Establishing Airport Catchment Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27424.
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2 User Guide Intended Use This toolkit is developed to help the airport community understand, analyze, and review their catchment areas. Multiple analytical tools are developed by the research team so that potential users of this toolkit can choose the most appropriate tools based on their needs and available resources. Results produced by different tools are expected to complement and cross-validate each other. • Potential Users The potential users of this toolkit include: – Airports that plan to analyze their catchment areas or review previous catchment area analysis, – Consulting firms that are contracted by airports to undertake catchment area analysis, – Airlines that intend to review their local products and plan for new air services, – Government agencies that are reviewing access to air transportation in different regions, – Research institutions that aim to address spatial characteristics of air transportation, and – Other aviation stakeholders. • Anticipated Outcomes Users are provided with a diverse range of tools to conduct their airport catchment area analysis. It is anticipated that the catchment area analysis can deliver the following research outcomes: – Airport catchment area plots for existing conditions and different scenarios, – Identification of core markets within the catchment area where the subject airport is more competitive in attracting passengers, and – Identification of peripheral markets within the catchment area where the subject airport is less competitive and leaking traffic to competing airports. – Estimation of potential traffic leakage from markets within the catchment areas to nearby competing airports. Airports are also expected to combine the outcome of catchment area analysis with other data to produce results for different applications, for instance, new air services development, traffic leakage analysis, economic impact study, master plan, and capital improvement plan.

3 Prepare Your Analysis Conducting catchment area analysis is a major analytical project for airports of any size. The successful completion of a catchment area analysis requires resources such as data, time, software, and skilled personnel. Therefore, it is crucial to examine the access to such resources and get prepared before formally commencing the analysis project. • Data Data that can be used for airport catchment area analysis can be grouped into two major categories, stated preference and revealed preference data. – Stated preference data: Such data are information “based on behavioral intentions and responses to hypothetical choice situations” (Ben-Akiva et al., 1994). In the context of airport catchment area analysis, stated preference data can be collected from passenger surveys, social media posts, and market studies. – Revealed preference data: Such data are based on “actual behavior to derive values” (Clinch, 2004). In the context of airport catchment area analysis, such data can be obtained through location data shared by passengers’ smart devices, license plates of vehicles parked at airport parking facilities, billing addresses provided during flight booking, etc. • Time The time required to conduct an airport catchment area analysis varies depending on several factors, including: – Does the airport have the required data or access to such data? – Has the airport previously conducted catchment area analysis? – Does the airport have access to experienced personnel for analysis? – Does the airport plan to outsource the analysis or conduct the analysis in-house? With the answers to the above question vary, airports may need up to six months if they do not have the access to all the required data, have not conducted catchment area for a long time, and plan to conduct the analysis in-house. If the airport has the data access, and if the airport has a competent internal team of if the airport chooses to outsource the analysis to an experienced airport consulting firm, airports may expect to have the analysis results ready within 1-2 months. • Data Analytics Software Due to the size of input data and requirements for visualization, professional data analysis software are must-haves. Commonly used software for catchment area analysis includes but is not limited to: – Spreadsheet programs (e.g., Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets) – Business Intelligence software (e.g., Tableau, Power BI) – ArcGIS & QGIS – Python – R – JavaScript – Refer to Catchment Visualization Tools for the pros and cons of these software.

4 • Skilled Personnel Airport catchment area analysis is a moderately complex project that requires a diverse range of skills, which includes but is not limited to: – Survey design – Data analytics – Spatial analysis using Geographic Information System (GIS) tools – Data visualization – Programming (depending on the selected analytics tools) Airports may wish to conduct regular internal skillset reviews to assess if catchment area analysis can be successfully conducted in-house.

5 Plan Your Analysis When airports commit to conducting a catchment area analysis, initial steps should include formally defining the scope, setting the budget, estimating project duration, and determining whether the project should be outsourced. • Scope An airport catchment area analysis project can be qualitative or quantitative. – Qualitative: If an airport only wishes to estimate the boundary of its primary market, then the airport can utilize methods that collect convenient samples, such as through passenger surveys or User- Generated Content (UGC) shared on Social Networking applications. Data through such methods could provide some insight to infer catchment areas, but they are not representative enough to infer market shares or estimate traffic leakages. – Quantitative: Airports can also rely on catchment area analysis to infer the market shares, estimate the temporal variations of traffic, and measure the severity of traffic leakages to competing airports through rigorous quantitative analysis. Such analyses will require quality data that can be used to match operational data (such as DOT’s DB1B data) in a consistent manner. Billing data obtained through specialized providers (ARC or MIDT) and mobile location data for large airports meet such purposes. Airport catchment area analysis could also be done along with traffic leakage analysis. In this case, not only do data pertinent to the subject airport need to be obtained, but data of nearby competing airports should also be collected through permittable sources to shed light on the dynamics among airports within the same region. • Budget Though the exact budget for catchment area analysis will vary from one airport to another, interested users could estimate the approximate expenses from the following aspects. – Data expenses: If collecting through internal channels, users should consider the expenses of equipment and manpower. If acquired from external providers, then users could specify scope (airports to be covered) and selected time frame and ask for quotes. – Software subscription expenses: Popular business applications such as Office 365 (Microsoft, 2022b) and Tableau (2022b) will incur monthly subscription expenses, and such expenses vary depending on team size and functionality. – Manpower expenses: Conducting catchment area analysis in-house requires the collaboration of different skillsets. Depending on the project duration and size of the analytics team, their expenses should be considered accordingly. The research team surveyed a number of small-hub and nonhub primary airports during the development of this toolkit in 2022. Airports responded that the expense budget for their catchment area analyses ranged between $50,000 and $100,000 by outsourcing the project to dedicated airport consulting firms. It should be noted these figures are quoted from a small sample of airports. The actual expenses may vary significantly, depending on the actual scope and requirements of the project.

6 • Project Duration Based on our survey with small-hub and nonhub primary airports, airports that outsource catchment area analysis to airport consultants normally expect to have at least preliminary results within two months. Airports choosing to conduct the analysis in-house using qualified personnel could require 4 to 6 months to complete, including data collection, analytics, and visualization. Disclaimer: This above duration estimation is based on a survey with a limited sample and the experience of the project team when developing this toolkit. The actual duration may vary. • In-house or outsource? Most airports have data analytics requirements, and it is not uncommon to find personnel with different skills internally. Some airports are managed by the municipal governments, where the skillsets can be even more diverse. However, considering the relatively low frequency of catchment area analysis, airports are not likely to keep a team of dedicated employees for such analyses. Therefore, it is a common practice for airports to outsource catchment area analysis to consultants. If an airport eventually chooses to outsource catchment area analysis, the airport can still refer to this toolkit as a reference to help manage the project and facilitate its communications with the chosen consultant.

7 Conduct Your Analysis Conducing catchment area analysis is a relatively complex project involving several key tasks. To successfully achieve the project objectives within the planned project duration, airports or contracted consultants should follow a formal project management approach. In its essence, airport catchment area analysis is not different from other projects. The principles of successful project management apply well in this setting. The project manager or the lead of the research team should refer to good guidelines of project management (Schwalbe, 2009) when conducting the analysis. We summarize some key recommendations here to facilitate the smooth and satisfactory progress of the project. • Set and clarify objectives When it comes to catchment area analysis, airports may only have some generic ideas about the project, especially if this is their first analysis in years. For instance, airports may expect to see the final analysis results presented on a map showing where their catchment areas are. The project manager, or the principal investigator, should work with the airport to set realistic expectations, including all the key issues we introduce in Plan Your Analysis. • Select the right team If the airport decides to conduct the analysis internally, the project manager should ensure the project team possesses all the necessary skills to carry out the analysis tasks. Common tasks that are necessary for airport catchment area analysis are summarized in Prepare Your Analysis. If the analysis is to be outsourced, the airport should work with candidate consultants to align their expectations in terms of project scope, budget, and time, in addition to verifying the consultants have the credentials and qualifications to take the task. • Choose appropriate tools The key objective of this toolkit is to provide airports or consultants with a basket of tools that can be selected and mixed to create a customized toolset. Airports, or the contracted consultant, should refer to their needs and in the "Overview of Analytical Tools” section to select the appropriate tools. • Collect data Catchment area analysis is a data-based study. The data collection of some analytics tools, such as UGC analysis, may take an extended period so that the data can reach the critical mass. The project team should set aside adequate time for data collection, especially using the stated preference approach. • Conduct the analysis Once the required data become available, the data analysis is relatively straightforward and should take a few weeks to complete. However, airports or consultants need to be aware that supplemental data collection may be necessary during the analysis. If so, this will delay the on-time completion of analysis. Therefore, they should envisage the possibility of uncertainties and build adequate time and budget buffers.

8 The project manager should also set various checkpoints during data collection and analysis to measure the project progress. Deliverables for each stage of the tasks should be pre-defined, and expectations should be set for deliverables so that objective assessment can be carried out during the analysis. • Manage the budget The project manager should keep close track of the dispense of the project budget. When the project progresses well as planned, expenses will typically stay within the planned limit. However, when unexpected arises and supplemental tasks are added, the project manager needs to review the budget, the project progress, and objectives to take necessary actions to ensure the project can still be completed as originally planned. If it is obvious amendments to the project plan and budget are necessary, the project manager should notify the airport immediately to work out remedial strategies. • Communication Effective communication is a prerequisite for successful project management. The project manager, regardless of being internal to the airport or belonging to external consultants, need to maintain regular communication with the airport management team. The objectives of communication are to report the project progress, update fund expenses, and, more importantly, disclose disruptions if there are any.

9 Maintain Your Analysis Airport catchment area analysis should not be a one-time project. Airports should regularly examine their operations and market to ensure the analysis results are current. Recommendations for post-analysis maintenance are provided in the Catchment Area Analysis Maintenance section of this toolkit.

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 Toolkit for Establishing Airport Catchment Areas
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The catchment area of an airport encompasses areas where passengers are more likely to use the subject airport, even when there are other airport options in the vicinity.

ACRP Web-Only Document 56: Toolkit for Establishing Airport Catchment Areas, from TRB's Airport Cooperative Research Program, comprises various analytical tools, such as the Travel Utility Analysis tool, that enable airport industry practitioners to calculate the likely responses of travelers to different market and operational inputs, thus forecasting potential catchment areas for airports.

Supplemental to the report are three case studies: Case 1: Akron-Canton Airport (CAK), OH; Case 2: Ontario International Airport (ONT), CA; and Case 3: Albert J. Ellis Airport (OAJ), NC.

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