Ground Transportation at Airports: Best Practices

Managing and controlling commercial ground transportation (e.g., taxi, limousine, bus, courtesy shuttles, and shared-ride operating as pre-arranged, on-demand, or scheduled) is a challenge faced by most airports, regardless of their size and location, and the nature of this challenge is changing. Customers and elected officials are demanding higher quality service and are no longer willing to tolerate poor or overpriced service that can create a negative impression of a community. Community leaders are also becoming increasingly sensitive to the environmental implications of these transportation services, including opportunities for increased use of alternative fuel vehicles and reductions in unnecessary deadhead trips. New technologies are available to improve customer service, enhance revenues, and simplify the management of these ground transportation services. Airport staff must attempt to balance the frequently conflicting needs and expectations of customers, commercial vehicle drivers, business owners, local regulatory authorities, and other parties, while also controlling airport curbsides and roadways and managing commercial vehicle staging areas. The amount of airport staff time spent addressing these challenges is often out of proportion to the volume of passengers served. Furthermore, as local authorities reduce the resources available to the regulatory staff that has traditionally overseen and enforced these transportation services, airport staff are encountering increased responsibilities and time commitments. Also, the ground transportation service providers (providers) need a workable model within a level playing field to meet the demands of the other stakeholders and be successful. Understanding that ground transportation is a reflection of the environment they operate in, there is no current resource that provides information for airport operators to determine which ground transportation practices are best suited for their airport. The objective of this research is to prepare a guidebook that describes best ground transportation management practices (practices) that can be used to provide safe, comfortable, and easy-to-use commercial ground transportation for airport operators and their stakeholders at a variety of types and sizes of airports. Practices should include all elements of operations, oversight, procurement, reporting, and regulatory structure. The guidebook should address at a minimum, the following elements: (1) Models that demonstrate quality customer service, provide airport revenues, are easy to use, and provide good economic value to the providers; (2) Examples of airports by geographical region and airport size where best practices have been implemented; include critical factors of success and failures from airport, providers, and customer perspectives; (3) Methods of setting and collecting airport cost recovery fees; (4) Standards for vehicles and drivers; (5) The different types of provider business practices and their effects on the airport's ability to regulate; (6) Types of regulations and methods used for compliance and enforcement of all aspects of ground transportation; (7) Available technology that can benefit the airport, providers, and the customers; (8) Guidelines for flexibility to accommodate changes in airport operations; (9) The external factors impacting different operating practices; (10) Establishment of metrics to assist airports and providers in assessing the level of service; (11) Environmental initiatives; and (12) Common challenges for the providers.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $300000.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 10-16

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Aviation Administration

    800 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20591

    Airport Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001
  • Project Managers:

    Schatz, Theresia

  • Performing Organizations:

    Fisher, Leigh, Consultant

  • Principal Investigators:

    Mandle, Peter

  • Start Date: 20130710
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 38339

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01547521
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 10-16
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Dec 11 2014 1:00AM