Integrating air travel into seamless door-to-door journeys
Intermodality is a top priority in high-level European transport agendas, such as Flightpath 2050. One of the stated goals is to enable 90 % of citizens to reach any place in Europe, door to door, within four hours, safely, affordably, quickly and predictably. Air transport is at the heart of this integrated, seamless, energy-efficient, diffused intermodal system. Urban Air Mobility (UAM) is a challenging new domain, encompassing avionics safety, urban environment complexity, smarter and sustainable mobility choices and public acceptance.
A new, multilayer Concept of Operations
The EU-funded X-TEAM D2D project addressed the seamless integration of Air Traffic Management (ATM), aviation and vertical transport in urban and suburban environments and identified enabling technologies applicable in the short and longer terms. “Taking multimodal transport use cases, our research highlighted [technological, legal, economic and potential regulatory] barriers to the implementation of the envisaged scenarios and provided detailed outcomes for the next decades,” notes Vittorio Di Vito, Head of the Air Traffic Efficiency Department at the Italian Aerospace Research Centre CIRA and project coordinator. “Our approach has been incremental, considering the long-term time horizon for fully implementing multimodal transport in European cities and regions. Our Concept of Operations (ConOps) has been implemented in multiple layers, meaning that it specifically addressed, in an evolutive way, the 2025 (baseline), 2035 (intermediate) and 2050 (final) time horizons. Our proposed integration concepts addressed both purely technological aspects and more general operational and user-oriented aspects,” highlights Di Vito. Researchers worked on the definition and description of crucial elements characterising the operation of an integrated metropolitan and regional transport. X-TEAM D2D’s multilayer ConOps implemented a Total Traffic Management approach, including a high-level description of the system architecture and related main components. The associated system requirements and the expected user requirements over the next decades were also identified.
Passenger-centric intermodal transport implemented in a sustainable way
Researchers designed a dedicated service blueprint to model passenger interaction with the infrastructure throughout the whole door-to-door journey. The main transition steps were described, allowing moving from the current situation, where each leg of the journey has its own service, to an integrated transport service, which is unique to each passenger for the whole door-to-door journey. “Such an overall formulation of our ConOps could pave the way for efficiently implementing Total Traffic Management for all transport modes, where travellers’ preferences have a high priority,” remarks Di Vito. The proposed ConOps was validated, addressing specifically relevant Key Performance Indicators, such as journey efficiency (measured in terms of total distance travelled, total travel time and average travel speed per passenger) and passengers’ quality of travelling (based on the waiting time at interconnections). X-TEAM D2D found that for the future of transport it is fundamental the digital integration of personal passengers’ preferences, such as convenience, ease, frequency and speed of service, as well as comprehensiveness and reliability. The proposed ConOps is innovative on its own since, apart from specifying and analysing future integrated transport operations, it should help increase transparency, replicability and accuracy. Future studies could largely rely on X-TEAM D2D outcomes to identify other enabling technologies and address passenger needs in a more comprehensive and centralised way. X-TEAM D2D was funded within the framework of the SESAR Joint Undertaking, a public-private partnership set up to modernise Europe’s air traffic management system.
X-TEAM D2D, Concept of Operations, door to door, air transport, Flightpath 2050, Air Traffic Management, CIRA, intermodal transport, Urban Air Mobility