CORDIS - Forschungsergebnisse der EU

Co-modal Airport

Final Report Summary - MODAIR (Co-modal Airport)

Executive Summary:
Today more than ever, faster and more seamless transport is associated with a better standard of living, as well as considerable savings in time and money. The EU is constantly looking at ways to improve mobility, and one way to do this is by integrating different transport modes.
The EU-funded project 'Co-modal airport' (ModAir) brought together representatives from air, rail and urban transport to upgrade co-modality and intermodality for European airport passengers. Project consortium members included notable organisations such as Aeroports de Paris and the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) based in France, as well as the European Intermodal Association (EIA) in Belgium. A key rail organisation and a logistics consulting company from Spain were also part of this ambitious endeavour.
Although many European airports offer urban and interurban transport links — some boasting high-speed train connections — current intermodal links are often not in line with passenger needs. In this context, ModAir built on previously funded EU projects to map current intermodal and co-modal options for European airports. It created dialogue with experts to identify the most ideal ways to continue connecting airports with other modes of transport.
After examining previous EU projects and studies, the project articulated passenger needs with respect to intermodality. It also mapped all high-speed train links connected to airports in all EU Member States.
In addition, ModAir defined a new discussion platform — the European Forum on Airport Passenger Intermodality (EFAPI) — articulating an overall vision on sustainable and seamless door-to-door intermodal passenger travel and information services. It then looked at the mechanisms and communication tools required for EFAPI and its vision to become reality.
The project is expected to support European policymakers through recommendations on creating the EFAPI platform. Its inventory of existing interconnections between European airports and high-speed railways will be invaluable in continuing to build seamless mobility across the continent.

Project Context and Objectives:
In addition to rail, air transport plays an important part in the mobility of European citizens. It is often the only way to travel over longer distances and air transport provides access to regions of Europe that are not connected by high speed train networks.
However, in the concept of seamless travel for passengers, air transport needs to be well connected to other transport modes. In this respect, airports play an important role as nodal points to facilitate this. The challenge is enabling such an intermodal journey which will typically cross many boundaries (e.g. national, regional, modal, private-public).
The ModAir project aimed at designing a European Forum on Airport Passenger Intermodality: a mode-overlapping forum or association, where representatives from the air, rail and urban transport as well as any other relevant actor will contribute to the development and improvement of co-modality and intermodality for passengers in European airports.
The amount of stakeholders involved in such intermodal travel requires an adequate collaboration environment. Ensuring modal neutrality is the key in ensuring progress in this quest for intermodality. The ModAir consortium believes that taking the passenger’s point of view in the airport context enables this approach. Airports are by definition nodes between ground transportation and air transportation, but additionally, some passengers of today’s large intermodal airports already transit through the airport without taking the plane.
These activities are based on a database of European airports, made as part of the ModAir project activities, giving the current state of co-modal connectivity.
Solutions to improve the co-modal links were listed and reviewed. Solutions on the information and communication technology side include better interconnected information exchange systems that will provide single reservation and a single ticketing abilities for the whole journey, in which several transport modes will be used. On the logistical side, ModAir focussed on the issues behind luggage transfer between transport modes.
ModAir contributed on research, development and innovation needs on these topics but also provided organizational recommendations to ensure that the European Forum on Airport Passenger Intermodality can in time develop an agreed-upon SRIA (Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda).
Given the planned evolutions of the high speed train infrastructures described in the TEN-T implementation plans, ModAir paid special attention to the connection between air and longer range high speed train lines in Europe, providing an approach to improve the performance of airport centred co-modality and intermodality.

Project Results:
1 Passenger requirements
ModAir developed a descriptive framework of intermodal passenger requirements, based on evidence gathered from a comprehensive review of existing intermodal studies and projects and consultation with intermodal experts.

1.1 Methodology
Two key data collection exercises informed the development of this framework:

• Review of existing research studies and projects concerning intermodal passenger transport:
The studies and projects reviewed were selected by the members of the project consortium and represent a complete overview of the current knowledge of airport-centred and/or co modal air transport studies developed in Europe over the last years.
From this review a number of relevant variables were identified, grouped as: indicators; variables; and sub variables and presented in Deliverable 2.1 Existing studies on the methods and variables used to study co-modal passenger requirements.

• Consultation with passenger experts regarding intermodal passenger requirements (survey and discussion group with the Modair Advisory Board):
The passenger requirement variables identified within Deliverable 2.1 were validated by a group of intermodal experts (with representation from air, rail and urban transport modes). The validation exercise comprised face to face and telephone interviews and a self-completion questionnaire (see Annex 2 for consultation tool). These consultations sought: to confirm the relevance of the variables identified in the study review and to identify any new variables (that had not been captured through the study/project review) in addition to identifying important variables for the future; and those with particular relevance for specific types of passengers and phase of journey.
The preliminary findings from this validation exercise were then presented at the first project Advisory Board meeting (Brussels, 3rd April 2013) where there was a discussion concerning the most relevant variables describing passenger requirements now and in the future.

1.2 Descriptive Framework: Relevant variables concerning intermodal passenger requirements

Deliverable 2.1 brings together four pieces of information:
• Key results from the survey on the most relevant passenger requirement variables (i.e. those which were considered most important by at least 85.7% of the experts responding to the survey);
• New variables, namely those which are highlighted as important by the experts but were not captured in the survey;
• Future intermodal passenger requirements;
• Variables according to their particular relevance to specific types of passenger and/or phase of journey.

1.3 Conclusion
Satisfying the customer´s needs and assuring a positive and seamless travel experience is central to the success of intermodal passenger transport. This report examines those variables which are relevant from the perspective of the passenger before, during and after the journey and depending on the type of passenger.
These variables are numerous and wide ranging, however a number of key themes have emerged, some of which are cross cutting (e.g. accessibility). A clearly important requirement for passengers is to easily access reliable, impartial and real time information, both for pre-trip planning and to be kept informed of relevant developments during the journey.
A further two variables identified as important for passengers are the use of a single ticket, taking the client from start to their final destination without the use of various tickets and the availability of multi-modal check-in facilities, avoiding the passenger having to carry their luggage between the different modes throughout the journey.
There are also clearly a number of important factors for the client whilst travelling, amongst others, passengers being able to confidently find their way between modes and experiencing a feeling safety and comfort within the spaces they inhabit throughout their journey. Furthermore, where there are a number of transport providers, the issue of accountability and passenger rights is raised, highlighting the need for effective coordination between operators.
The variables concerning passenger requirements presented in ModAir raise some obvious challenges for the transport sector (operators and infrastructure managers) in terms of logistics, operations, infrastructure, organisation and cultural factors etc., particularly with regards to single ticketing, multi-modal check in and the provision of reliable and impartial information. We hope however that the contributions made by this research will be useful in informing the design of future intermodal transport in line with passenger requirements and the realisation of the vision for a seamless door to door intermodal travel where the passenger is able to arrive at their destination in the smoothest, most stress-free way possible.

2 Co-modal mapping of airports

The ModAir project produced two inventories, available on the ModAir public website (
• High speed train connections and transfer points in Europe
• European airports and their current and planned interconnectivity

The high-speed train mapping first revises the key EU Transport Policy documents referring to the current and planned network of high speed rail connections and Air/Rail Intermodality in Europe (particularly the 2011 proposal for new TEN-T Guidelines). Then, drawing on the information included in these EU policy documents, it puts together and analyses an inventory (database) of existing and planned air/ high speed rail (HSR) transfer points. It finally contains a more detailed presentation of the current Air/HSR intermodal nodes under operation.
ModAir also made an inventory of all European commercial airports and investigated the way intermodal connections are offered. It looked into the way information to passengers is provided at these airports. It looked into single ticket solutions currently practiced.
And it investigated to what extent high speed rail will substitute air connections. It assessed the predictions by Eurocontrol related to the effect of more high speed rail connections on the air transport activity in Europe.
The interconnectivity at European airports is often still limited to urban transport, with very few (high-speed) train stations located at airports. Some of the existing intermodal links do not fully meet the passengers’ expectations, leading to low usage. As an example in the UK train stations at regional airports have been closed due to the small number of passengers that made use of the facility.

2.1 Airports used for commercial flights
There are more than 1270 airports and 1230 aerodromes in Europe. ModAir investigated more than 1270 airports by visiting the websites and gathering information via the internet, other literature and correspondence with airport operators and statistical agencies. Airports were classified as commercial airports, dual use airports where both civil commercial and military operations take place, military airports and General Aviation airports.
A database of the 543 airports serving commercial air transport was constructed. A detailed analysis was made of these airports and the co-modal connections of the 543 airports were mapped. This is the first time such a comprehensive overview was made.

There are currently a number of new airports planned, constructed or reclassified from General Aviation to commercial operations.
Many regional airports serve seasonal traffic. The Low Cost Carriers that operate on these airports serve leisure travel during the summer (and in some cases only during the winter). The distances flown by LCC are in general beyond 600 - 800 km point to point. Low Cost Carriers have a substantial market share of about 40% in European air travel.

2.2 Airport connectivity
The connectivity of all airports was investigated. In nearly all cases the relevant data concerning the number of movements, vicinity to towns, connectivity to other transport modes etc. could be established:
All airports can be accessed by car.
525 airports out of 543 are being served by taxi. (97%)
379 airports are served by regular bus services. (70%)
56 airports are served by local rail and light rail/tram to nearby cities or regions. (10%)

2.3 High speed rail and aviation
There are a few high speed rail lines (HST) in Europe. These focus on massive volumes of passengers and connections between major cities.

Air transport serves both hub airports at large cities and regions in a flexible and cost efficient way.
Flexibility is primarily achieved by introducing more flights if demand is increasing ( in contrast to rail where the frequency is basically the same but trains are made longer if demand increases). Load factors in aviation are high (more than 85% on average) which allows low fares. Load factors in surface transport are much lower.

High speed rail travel can be more efficient than air transport taking into account the total journey time. Very high speed train point to point connections (travelling at 250km/hour) can be more time efficient than air transport over a distance up to about 600 km. Experience has shown that indeed there is some substitution taking place between air travel and HST up to that distance for example in France and Spain. In these countries regional flight have been discontinued in favour of rail travel.
Current high speed rail plans may result in partial substitution of regional air travel by high speed train especially in Spain, France and Denmark. If the plans in the UK are realized there may be substitution in the UK as well.
A modest substitution effect may be expected in Finland, Italy, Sweden, Poland, Croatia, Germany, Greece and Portugal if all HST plans are executed. However due to the economic crisis some high speed rail planning is on hold.
Eurocontrol is expecting that the annual growth in the number of European flights by 2030 may be reduced from 3.9% by 0.7% to 3.2% if all High Speed Rail plans are realized (assuming that the European economy will grow at an average 2.7% per annum).

The ModAir analysis of all air transport connections at 543 European airports supported the Eurocontrol conclusions.
HST connections will have no effect on long distance flights and most of the Low Cost Carrier operations as well as the intercontinental flights.
Rather than focusing on substitution, the focus should be on benefits of directly connecting air travel to high speed rail travel:
The benefits of offering a direct rail/air connection and a single ticket for flights and high speed train to regional connections are:
1. By substitution freeing airport slots, which is relevant for crowded HUB airports where runway capacity and slots are scarce
2. Creating additional airspace capacity which is scarce in Europe due to the fact that large parts of the airspace are still reserved for military operations
3. Enlarging the catchment area of HUB airports
4. Enabling airports to be interconnected via high speed rail, allowing a better distribution of air traffic over different airports

2.4 Intermodal information
The websites of the 543 airports were reviewed by ModAir.
Most airports have a simple link on their website to car rental, taxi, bus and rail companies and in some cases time schedules of bus and train connections are provided. None have a customer oriented approach where the customer is automatically informed about intermodal connections from arrival at the airport to the final destination and verse versa. There is no intermodal focus for door to door travel. The information is focused on travel from airport to airport.
The current set up makes it mandatory for passengers to visit several websites to plan a door to door trip. Websites do not provide information about transit times between different travel modes, nor real time information about delays in ground transportation.

2.5 Single ticket and other services
Already some airlines offer single tickets or combined tickets to passengers that allow a multi modal travel by plane and train.
Examples are:
• TGVair; A combined ticket offered for rail/ flight connections by TGV in France to Paris Charles de Gaulle and Orly
• Air and Rail: a combined ticket between Brussels and Paris CDG airport.
• Air and Rail: a combined ticket between Brussels and Amsterdam.
• Rail and Fly: the opportunity to buy an airline ticket and a train ticket at the same time in Germany

Besides these ticketing possibilities there are services for luggage drop-off for airline passengers at remote locations. In Vienna for example passengers can check in and drop off their luggage in down town Vienna as a service by selected airlines.
Low cost Carriers often use regional airports to avoid the high fees that need to be paid at hub airports. As these airports are located outside the big cities, LCC cooperate with a direct bus connection to these cities. There is no single ticket but the time schedule of these busses match the departure and arrival times of the LCC aircraft.

In bigger cities, some airlines own their own bus company that offer a bus-link to the downtown city. An example is Air France offering an Air France bus service to downtown Paris. The passenger needs to buy a separate ticket for that service.
Another service that is worth mentioning is the possibility to check-in at the US customs at Dublin and Shannon airports, thus avoiding long queues when entering the USA.

2.6 Institutional connections and intra modal connections
In the past KLM airlines took a 10% share in High speed rail NS in the Netherlands to ensure a high speed connection to Brussels from Amsterdam airport. Due to the difficulties with the high speed train connection (the Fyra trains are no longer operational) the share was withdrawn. (Note that trains going East to Germany no longer stop at Schiphol airport either due to lack of passengers).
It is interesting to note that there is intense cooperation within the same transport mode.
For example airlines cooperate amongst themselves especially when they are part of the same group like Sky Team, One World or Star Alliance. This enables them to share the codes and provide combined tickets for onward travel with an associated airline at lower prices.

The same intra modal agreements have been reached in the rail sector with the Interrail and Eurail passes.
In air cargo, providers of parcel and mail services have an integrated transport chain from door to door. These integrator companies combine all transport modes within one company including aircraft, warehouses, vans etc.
It seems that intermodal passenger transport (where more independent organizations with different commercial objectives and funding arrangements need to work together) is far more difficult to organize.
What is important is that there is an added value for operators to be involved in a multi modal transport chain. Such intermodal chains require organization and administration and therefore create cost. These costs should be lower than the benefits expected from intermodal offerings.
The basic benefit expected for air transport will be an increased number of passengers by enlarging the catchment area or offering better services than competing airports.

3 Framework design

3.1 Building EFAPI
One of the goals of ModAir was to define the European Forum on Airport Passenger Intermodality (EFAPI). It identified common and complementary aspects of key stakeholders in order to establish a framework for creating this Inter-platform discussion group for passenger transport. Door-to-door long distance European passenger intermodality, which is a key priority of EU transport policy, has no natural driver either in the public sector amongst national or regional policy makers or amongst operators/modes as it crosses many boundaries (national, regional, modal, private, public). Therefore it is essential that help is given at the right level to develop a strong stakeholder inter-platform forum that can support and promote the development of research, policy and pilot projects.

A strong focus of EFAPI will be on the air sector, while rail and urban transport will complement the co-modal chain. The platform will be in the shape of a neutral mode-overlapping forum or association. It will invite relevant stakeholders to express their sectorial interest regarding intermodal passengers. Stakeholders range from airports, high speed rail undertakings and urban transport providers to customer associations. A definition of an Inter-platform design

Europe would benefit from a ‘Handbook for interconnections air-rail’ which could be produced by EFAPI. This would be very useful for railway companies, air operators, airports, authorities and customers. A methodology to give an overview of air / long distance high-speed rail connections should be developed. It should tackle in detail:
• The lack (or low quality) of the physical interconnection and integration (i.e. technical and design solutions).
• The need for enhanced logical and operational intermodal integration, such as integrated information and ticketing, user needs (passenger requirements), etc.
• Organizational elements, multi-stakeholder cooperation and financing, institutional structures and mechanisms (governance), promotion and marketing.

These three sets of interrelated areas should be validated in the light of ad hoc joint business cases in order to better assess risks and benefits of air/HST passenger intermodality.

EFAPI, being an expert group towards the EC, should focus on:
• enablers to make smart use of existing infrastructure,
• the implementation of door-to-door baggage handling,
• neutral information supply enabling intermodality between air and rail,
• integrated ticketing,
• stimulating the harmonization of the information content and unified language and codes,
• homogenizing safety and security standards in and between modes and terminals.

3.2 Methodology for the case of long distance high speed trains
ModAir made a special focus on the role of High Speed Railway in the consolidation of Airport intermodality and put forward a methodology for the development of such infrastructures. Business cases are suggested to assess the conception of Air/HSR by including four main steps:
• the definition of the case and potential alternatives;
• main stakeholders involved;
• drivers, barriers and critical factors for the implementation;
• ad hoc cost benefit analysis.

In contrast to other infrastructure assets, examples and preceding studies on this subject are very limited due to the complexity and specificity of each Air/HSR link. Very few airports in Europe include separate or joint Air/HST services. Nevertheless, ModAir offers a review on most of the related available literature, thus screening the key fundamentals for Air/HSR links’ planning.
Special attention has been paid to the technical and design issues at different scopes since Air/HSR links are very expensive infrastructures which may have strong economic, social and environmental impact. Accordingly any business case on Air/HSR links should be founded on a correct project definition as well as the likely alternatives, in order to avoid unsuccessful investments or major external costs.
In addition to technical issues, ModAir concentrated on the role of the multiple stakeholders involved in the conception of Air/HSR links. Interested parties such as passengers, airports, airlines, rail infrastructure managers, rail operators, public administration or IT providers draw an unique framework where win-win, win-lose or lose-lose situations may arise between each of them due to the implementation of an Air/HSR link.
Based on these complexities, business cases on Air/HSR links need to carefully address the main drivers, barriers and critical factors that can be found during all the lifespan of these facilities. Infrastructure integration, network context, overall travel time, integrated ticketing or the availability of information are key elements for the success of Air/HSR links.
Last but not least, ModAir pointed out the need to reflect all the above mentioned elements in any cost benefit analysis of Air/HSR links. With this aim, three different approaches are suggested: individual CBA analysis for each stakeholder; vis-à-vis balance CBA analysis for each pair of stakeholders; and finally a global balance CBA including all the stakeholders. This methodology intends to reveal possible imbalance situations between the different players that may require cost or revenue sharing or compensating measures.

4 Identification of R&D needs

The ModAir study has been based on the review of existing studies and stakeholders’ opinions regarding integrated ticketing and luggage transfer.
The first issue to be discussed is the real market potential of such integration, the main drivers and barriers of which have been assessed. In general, despite the existing studies, stakeholders agree on the need of an updated and further detailed study on the real latent demand for integrated ticketing. In fact, the potential demand by itself could justify the investments required to deploy a global system for air-rail integration. So, it seems that the first step towards integrated ticketing would be a broader research on passengers’ demand.

Next, the study has pointed out some of the already existing air-rail experiences in Europe. Although some of these experiences target their local markets and it would be difficult to broaden their scope (e.g. Eurostar from London to Paris which is directly using IATA codes for its stations and operating through GDS), it is remarkable that cooperation between stakeholders has begun. Agreements on the delays, railways available in GDSs, cooperation in situations like when volcano Eyjafjälla paralyzed the European air traffic, and other experiences make the final solution closer.

Regarding stakeholders’ perceptions, passengers are mainly willing for better information related to intermodality, comprehensibility of the reservation systems (including better prices when booked air and rail are together), flexibility on their bookings and a secure framework with clear operators’ liability conditions. On the other side, from the supply point of view, there are disparities in their opinions. Some think that air-rail integration is already solved and everybody should use the alternative they are providing (these still demur appearing in a common information system with competing means of transport). Others state that only a common agreement is needed and, consequently, all agents should be involved in a global working group. Most of them are enthusiastic but only if the demand for air-rail can be proved first. Greater market potential is expected for the long term.

The fact is that technologies covering intermodality (and in particular, air-rail intermodality) are already available as seen before: integration of railways undertakings into GDSs, rail interfaces set by current GDS providers, web-based journey planners, Railteam planner (and even booking if the trip’s legs are operated by Railteam partners), and different research projects which have studied the topic. However, no one has been placed yet as the global solution for the air-rail market, and as stated in KITE project, one strives to make available developments compatible; so, there is still work to do.

To conclude, the main challenges to overcome in order to achieve the desired framework for intermodality have been described. These are mainly related to standardisation and funding, but also to remote check-in and luggage handling and schedule and delays.

In relation with the standardisation issues, in the first place standardisation among railway services procedures from different companies is envisioned. Secondly, standardisation between air and rail must be addressed. The main targets within standardisation are:
• a neutral display of air-rail alternatives over the air-air ones;
• the provision of a common and global nomenclature system for the stations description like airport IATA codes;
• discussion about those rail trips with no need of reservation, or the booking of those where one seat can be booked from A to B and the same seat from B to C;
• harmonisation of journey classes and social discounts;
• the need to ensure data sharing, open access and data quality;
• a branding strategy to avoid different nomenclatures for similar services.

As regards luggage transfers, knowing what is happening to their baggage is one of passengers’ top three priorities (Passenger IT Trends Survey 2013). Access to baggage information wherever actors are located (including on mobile devices) has to be developed. By the end of 2016, over 60% of airlines expect to be sending bag location updates and enabling missing bag reports via smartphones (Airline IT Trends Survey 2013).
Efficient and cheap tag technologies (paper, RFID, Bluetooth…) must be developed, with standardized tags and data formats between modes.

On the funding side, it will be very important to quantify the existing latent demand for the air-rail integration. This demand will determine the expected benefits for the different stakeholders in comparison with their actual demand figures. Also, it will be essential to achieve the proper cooperation between stakeholders to discuss the details of the funding based on their particular business plans. Furthermore, most of them believe that EU funding may prove to be valuable regarding, at least, the investments in standardisation.

Potential Impact:
Main dissemination activities:

- MODAIR Advisory Board Meeting, 03/04/2013, Brussels
- MODAIR Workshop, 17-18/09/2013, Madrid
- Next Station Conference, Moscow, 17-18/10/2014
- CIT2014 (Transport Engineering Congress) in Spain

List of Websites: