Interrelationship between airport enplanements and accessibility: Case of three airports in metropolitan Washington, D.C., region


Increasingly, because urbanized areas have access to multiple airports, airlines must compete for passengers. One such location is the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area with three international airports within a 30-mi radius, each governed by a different planning authority. A traveler's choice to fly from a particular airport depends on a number of factors, chiefly convenient accessibility to the airport. Transportation planning agencies in the area often plan for network improvements to provide the best accessibility to a single major airport, although such improvements may also provide accessibility benefits to airports outside their jurisdiction. This paper presents an approach to estimate airport accessibility by highway and transit for both peak and off-peak hours. Furthermore, accessibility to these airports for a base year and a 20-year planning horizon are measured. The accessibility measure presented in the paper incorporates congestion travel times as obtained from a travel demand model. The results show that accessibility varies greatly for competing airports and, with that variation, there appears to be a correlation with total airport enplanements. The analysis also reveals the importance of taking a multimodal and multiple time-of-day approach to accessibility analysis.

Publication Title

Transportation Research Record