Transportation Network Companies’ (TNC) Impacts and Potential at Airports
When Transportation Network Company (TNC) services first emerged, there was extensive discussion in the popular press and among academics about the benefits that these “shared” services would bring. TNC as a form of ground transportation to and from the airport in contrast, is less often studied or permitted. At Los Angeles International Airport for example, Uber and Lyft could not conduct pick-ups until about seven years after they were founded. TNC operations at airports are highly controversial, yet research on both airports and TNC’s rarely intersect. This dissertation aims to fill the gap in the literature and address such questions as: which and how many airports have various types of TNC service (standard, pooled)? How do they impact other modes, vehicle-occupancy, congestion, and access at airports? Can their service be modified (i.e. through pricing or service improvement) to encourage higher uses of shared modes? Using Uber and Lyft websites, it documents all airports in the U.S. and internationally that permit TNC service and the types of services available. It analyzes airport passenger surveys to evaluate how much TNC replaces and complements transit and the net effects at several airports. Also using the passenger survey, Google Maps Directions API, and other sources, it estimates travel time and costs of the different modes to the airport, builds a discrete choice model of the access mode choices, and simulates various scenarios. Some of the scenarios are a TNC price increase (to match the cost of taxis) or a price cut and travel time increase (to mimic Uber Pool and Lyft line which are carpool versions of TNC’s). Finally, it assesses how a pooled TNC service to the airport would operate. We apply the pick-up and delivery problem to airport access requests (formed based on the airport passenger survey) and measure the number of private trips that would be eliminated when passengers are pooled. The motivation for understanding the consequences of making private TNC’s more expensive, or pooled TNC’s less expensive and more efficient (with shorter detours or travel time) is to identify effective tools to encourage modal shifts to vehicles with higher occupancy.