- Airports - Nodes to Modes   click here to open paper content62 kb
by    Cornaro, Antonia & null, null & null, null | Antonia_Cornaro@yahoo.com   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
AIRPORT Planning / Terminals in the Information Age

Airports have ceased to be mere transport facilities. They are increasingly resembling mini-cities. While air travel used to be a highly exclusive mode of travel at the beginning of civil aviation, it has over time become a mass transport mode and mode of choice. Passenger profiles are becoming increasingly diverse and more people travel more often and further than ever before.
Air travel is one of the major growth industries of our global economy and is in itself one of the most global industries. The bigger international airports have thousands and thousands of passengers streaming through their concourses, terminals and access systems on a daily basis. Airports have become ''nodes'' for people of all origins and destinations.
Air passenger growth has been averaging and is forecast to continue to grow at approx. 5% annually worldwide. Some (still immature) markets like Europe have been experiencing average growth rates of 8% annually. Passenger volumes have started to outpace the capacity that airports can provide in policitical, environmental, and socially reasonable ways. Yet, no airport wants to lose out on attracting, retaining, and accommodating future growth as it brings significant economic benefits with it (approx. 1000 jobs per 1 million passengers of direct employment versus even higher so called ''spin-off'' factors for indirect employment.
Increasingly improving technology brings relief to congested airport terminals, airspace, and access roadway congestion. We are finding new ways all the time to accomodate higher passenger volumes in the same space thanks to smart technology.
Airports are also increasingly striving to become true intermodal nodes, providing modes to other nodes. We, the customers, passsengers or travellers increasingly expect to save our time, not waste it when we travel by air. We want seamless trips from door to door, not a trip in segments, uncoordinated and non-integrated. Technology and streamlining the travel process plays a significant role in this aspect.

Development patterns are hugely affected by airport growth and development. From the examples of Heathrow and Amsterdam airports for instance, we can see how a growing number of Fortune 500 companies are seeking to locate themselves near such a major intermodal hub. While efficient and rapid linkage to the city is vital, airports in the future must face environmental constraints of noise and air pollution and plan their growth and/or location accordingly. Achieving high modal splits of passengers using public transport when travelling to the airport is widely deemed as a key objective of major international airports.

Airport nodes are providing ever-growing ever-faster mobility and flexibility - what does it do to our perception of space and time? This and the issues raised above will be addressed in my case study.
I discuss the significance and characteristics of airports as dynamic networks and nodes - from a transport, economic, environmental and time-space perspective. Real-life examples are given wherever applicable, with a focus on Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (congress point of arrival for many) and Londonís airports (my home at time of writing).
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