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462 HELICOPTER AIR SERVICE PROGRAM

Chapter V
FUTURE ROLE OF VERTICAL-LIFE AIRCRAFT IN SHORT-HAUL INTERCITY TRANSPORTATION

In preceding Chapter III the economic outlook for vertical-life aircraft and their operators was examined in terms of the role which they now occupy in the nation's air transportation system, that of providing expedited airport transportation. The purpose of this chapter is to consider the possible application of vertical-lift aircraft to US needs in short-haul intercity transportation.

The term "short-haul" will be defined as extending to 500 miles. Although the concept of vertical-lift flight need not be restricted to journeys of that length, it does not seem possible that long-haul service with vertical-life aircraft will be provided prior to 1980. At the same time, the 500 mile definition of short-haul does not imply that the payload, range and speed capabilities of certain types of vertical-life aircraft will not provide service somewhat in excess of that figure. As this is not intended to be a market study for any of the specific aircraft types which may become available (compound helicopter, tilt wing, jet fan, etc.) but a general definition of the possible applications of vertical lift aircraft as a group, it did not appear necessary to define range breakpoints in accordance with aircraft characteristics. It is assumed, then, that journeys up to 500 miles represent potential applications of the capabilities of various types of vertical-life aircraft in the period extending some 10-12 years in the future.

Nature of US Intercity Transportation Needs

It was demonstrated previously in Chapter III that increased US population and economic activity will lift the demand for domestic intercity passenger travel from 790 billion passenger miles in 1962 to 1,023 in 1970 and 1,238 in 1975 for increases of 36 per cent and 65 per cent, respectively. It was shown, also, that approximately 90 per cent of this demand will be accommodated by the private automobile and that air transportation will be the dominant form of common-carrier transportation.

It is widely recognized that the bulk of demand for intercity travel is in short-haul segments but any precise measurement of the degree of traffic concentration by mileage block is impossible with existing statistics. Although good statistics are available for air travel, data on mileage distributions for rail and bus traffic are either inadequate in coverage or suffering from old age. The major problem in measuring total travel is that little information is available for private automobile travel in a form that is comparable with other modes. Bureau of Public Roads Surveys indicate that approximately 90 per cent of automobile vehicle-miles are performed on trips of less than 100 miles.1 Our own estimate of the cumulative percentage distribution of total intercity passenger miles, based upon inadequate statistics but broken down between common carrier and total travel is as follows:

Table V-1

ESTIMATED CUMULATIVE PERCENTAGE DISTRIBUTION OF TOTAL U.S. INTERCITY PASSENGER MILES BY MILEAGE BLOCK FOR COMMON CARRIERS AND PRIVATE AUTOMOBILES, 1960

[[3 column table]]
| Mileage Block | Common Carrier | Total |
| --- | --- | --- |
| 0-49 | 4.7% | 25.5% |
| 50-99 | 11.5 | 58.6 |
| 100-249 | 28.5 | 70.9 |
| 250-499 | 46.7 | 81.0 |
| Total | 100.0 | 100.0 |

[[footnote]] 1 Highway Cost Allocation Study, 87th Congress, 1st Session, House Document No. 54, GPO, 1961.

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