Level of Service

LEVEL OF SERVICE DOT, industry study design in an effort to improve the user experience By John F. Infanger, Editorial Director June 2000 RENO — Amid the challenges of building up the U.S. airport infrastructure and modernizing...

Toward that end, Anis's group has been visiting airport terminals with digital cameras, photographing activity in different areas at different times of day. "It's a very difficult, subjective process," he explains. In particular, level of service is subjective, and identifying patterns requires repetition.

Two digital cameras were strategically placed at 90-degree angles at key passenger areas, such as holding areas and baggage claim. The pictures were then brought back to the office and fed into a computer which then offers modeling data. "The end result of this is a CAD (computer-aided design) model," he explains.

At the time of the Reno session, some 400 images of airport scenes had been collected and inputted, he says. One preliminary result: "It's clear we ... need to look at specific areas and types of activity," says Anis.

Ellen Wright, senior associate with Gensler and chair of ACC's Terminal Planning Subcommittee, asks: "Do we want a definitive guideline (the Advisory Circular) or are we making this process too complicated?" The consensus here was more concrete guidance can serve as an essential tool for those involved in planning, designing, and managing the airport terminal of tomorrow.

Adds Bender, "There's the capacity, but then there's a level of demand that you're planning for. I think your level of service when looking 15 years down the road is what you shoot for today."

Anis points out that the process is ongoing, and that variables are still being defined. Consequently, a series of workshops with industry is planned to establish "an interactive process" for creating the AC guidelines. "We don't want it to be arbitrary," he says. For information, contact Ellen Wright at Gensler: (310) 449-5600.

Technical Considerations
People who are planning and running airports today need to take into account how technology is changing the movement of aircraft. That's the word from Ed Wheeler, vice president and general manager of airport systems for Honeywell International.

Speaking at a session on "Free Flight and GPS" during the recent airport planning symposium in Reno, Wheeler told attendees that making the air traffic control system more efficient will have a significant effect on airports. "If we get it right — and it's not if, but when," says Wheeler, the corresponding ground/airport infrastructure better have kept pace or the congestion moves from the air to the ground.

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