MOBILITY. Landside Airport Accessibility Partners Considered Seven Action Plans to Improve Low Carbon Mobility

 

Milda Manomaitytė, 

Founding Director of the Global AirRail Alliance

International mobility experts and partners of the LAirA (Landside Airport Accessibility) project, funded by Interreg Central Europe, met in Brussels on 23 January 2019 to discuss the merits of different solutions for low carbon mobility at airports. These solutions are meant to support local and regional authorities, infrastructure providers and airports in achieving their goals for green airport access.
The conference ‘Towards smart and low carbon mobility’, organised by the Airport Regions Conference, brought together European institutions, international transport associations, public authorities, airports, and advocacy groups.

LAirA project partners represent seven Central Europe’s Functional Urban Areas of Vienna, Budapest, Warsaw, Bologna, Stuttgart, Dubrovnik and Poznan. The conference mirrored one of the main objectives of LAirA project: to encourage airport passengers and employees to use sustainable transport modes when travelling to and from the airport. LAirA partners analysed seven action plans to implement low carbon mobility - electric mobility, air-rail links, walking and cycling, shared mobility, intelligent transport systems, wayfinding and road based public transport.
‘The recommendations of these analyses could be a valuable input for the European strategy,’ said Isabelle Vandoorne, Deputy Head of the Sustainable and Intelligent Transport Unit at the European Commission.
One of the key recommendations that was applicable to all action plans was a closer cooperation with the key stakeholders.
‘All project partners have emphasized that building strong and sustainable relations with the many stakeholders is key in ensuring the success of the project,’ said Milda Manomaitytė, Founding Director of the Global AirRail Alliance. ‘LAirA project partners highlighted the political and local support as one of the main challenges in delivering airport rail link projects. The political support can be strengthened if the local community is behind the project and is actively advocating for it.’
A surprising hot topic of the event was the walking and cycling, or ‘Active Travel’ action plan, looking at ways to encourage airport staff and passengers to forgo motorised transport and get active. Some airports are already offering cycling schemes to their employees with bicycle maintenance shops and cloakroom facilities. With car parking real-estate becoming a scarce resource, airports agree that it is good idea to convince their workers not to drive and park at the airport, but use public transport or active travel instead. The discussions, however, kicked off when conference participants started considering the active travel for passengers and if such option is realistic at all. An agreement was reached that walking and cycling would work best within the airport campus, for example, for passengers accessing nearby hotels and conference centres. Currently many airports do not offer safe and enjoyable pedestrian routes, so passengers rely on private hotel shuttles to move around the immediate airport environment.
LAirA project partners have also considered the opportunity to work together and establish a standard wayfinding signs for these new mobility services.
‘A passenger that is arriving at the airport for the first time will not be familiar with local public transport system and terminology. For example, public transport can mean different things in different countries, and rail services have different names around the world, such as metro, u-bahn, s-bahn, subway, overground, underground, intercity and many more. Another good example is the app based transportation services, such as Uber and Lyft – each airport started to introduce their own wayfinding signs to represent them,’ said Liam Henderson, Founding Director or Transporting Cities.
According to Liam, LAirA project partners should lead the way in developing standard wayfinding signs and definitions for different airport land access services.
Andrew Murphy, Manager-Aviation at Transport & Environment, highlighted that airports have a big role to play to change the access to the airport, but also that greater investment and regulation is needed to achieve low carbon mobility.
On behalf of LAirA’s lead partner, Budapest 18th District, Gabor Csaba Sooki-Toth noted that ‘sustainable airport access has an important role in the development of the region and LAirA project aims to support the European vision of sustainable transportation through better urban planning and by providing mobility solutions accessible for regions, airports and users.’
The solutions and actions presented at this event will help further future activities that will improve and decarbonize access to airports, supporting cleaner airport areas as well as the goals of the Paris Agreement.
‘Public transport is undergoing major changes and challenges with e-mobility, car-hailing and other emerging mobility services, and it sometimes feels that infrastructures or administrations are not able to cope with these changes, but today we saw so many progresses that I am confident for the readiness of our public transport providers,’ said Léa Bodossian, Director of Aspire and the moderator of the conference, summarising the event.

 

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The magazine JŪRA has been published since 1935.
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published since 1999.

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