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440     HELICOPTER AIR SERVICE PROGRAM

The speed of monorail could reduce appreciably surface travel times and once the investment in fixed way is made, the incremental costs of operation are low.  Unfortunately the investment costs are high and the locations of airports are such that ways must be built to accommodate airport transportation demands.  The outlying location of airports means that demand for high-speed monorail service would be limited primarily to air passengers and investment justified primarily by those demands.

The same basic problem exists also in any extension of rapid transit lines to serve outlying airports.  Improvements in conventional rail travel might be made but this will depend upon the location of any new airports relative to the location of existing rail lines.  At the present time, the problem of airport location, relative to fixed rights of way, is such that these modes are not used at the present time.  Practically all of the airport transportation is provided by private auto, taxi or airport limousine or bus at the present time and it has been estimated that 75 per cent of airport users travel to and from the airport in unscheduled, rubber-tired vehicles of a capacity equal to six or fewer.

What are the prospects of improving automobile or airport bus travel through the use of technology?  The Bureau of Public Roads is now pursuing a program of research and investigation into the possibilities of improving traffic flow and safety through automated-way devices.  Although this program may bear fruit in the speeding up of vehicles (public buses in particular), it appears at this time that any progress, as applied to the problems of airport transportation will not produce any breakthrough in the period under study.

It is our opinion that a continuation of forces which have created the nation's urban transportation problems will result in a continuing high level of traffic congestion on our urban streets an highways.  Where urban highway improvements are made, use quickly catches up with capacity.1  New urban transportation programs are underway but progress has been slow to date.  Any foreseeable progress in the area of urban transportation can do little more than avert a crisis, let alone provide any relief to surface airport transportation.

Airport transportation needs are almost insignificant in relation to the immensity of the present urban transportation problem.  In fact, the contribution of airport transportation to the total urban traffic is almost imperceptible.  On the other hand, the problems of urban transportation are of vital concern to airport transportation and to the airline industry  If any substantial degree of relief is to be afforded airport transportation needs, it must come as a part of the nation's air transportation system and not as a part of any local urban transportation system.

This is not to say that helicopter service will ever accommodate the bulk of airport transportation demand.  The wide distribution of journey originations and destinations within the metropolitan area means that great reliance will still be placed upon the flexibility of the auto, taxi and limousine.  For the 20 to 40 per cent of the airport traffic that originates or terminates in the central core of the city, the helicopter offers the only foreseeable relief to airport transportation traffic problems in the next 10 years.

The above conclusion is based upon our own evaluation of airport and urban transportation problems and possible solutions.  Similar findings were made in a recent comprehensive study of airport transportation problems which was prepared for the Federal Aviation Agency.  Because of the importance of this question to the issue of public need for helicopter service and because the FAA study reflects a point of view independent from our own, we believe it is pertinent to quote in full the conclusions reached in this report in regard to the possible solutions of the airport transportation problem.  The 289-page study was devoted solely to the problems of air transportation.

1 A traffic engineering study submitted in the Chicago Helicopter Airways Renewal Case showed that in the past year traffic on the newly-operated Northeast Expressway, connecting the Loop with O'Hare Airport, increased at twice the estimated normal rate and that peak periods, when traffic experiences near capacity limitations, are lengthening.
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