On Demand Mobility Commuter Aircraft Demand Estimation

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Virginia Tech

On-Demand Mobility (ODM) is a concept to address congestion problems. Using electric aircraft and vertical take-off with limited landing (VTOL) capabilities, the ODM concept offers on demand transportation service between designated landing sites at a fraction of driving time. The purpose of this research is to estimate the potential ODM demand and understand the challenges of introducing ODM using the Northern California region (including major cities like San Francisco, Sacramento, and San Jose) as an area of study and a second, less rigorous analysis for the Washington-Baltimore region. A conditional logit model was developed to estimate mode choice behavior and to estimate ODM demand; presenting automobile and public transportation as the two competing modes to ODM.

There are significant challenges associated with the service including ability to operate in bad weather, vehicle operating cost, siting and cost of landing sites, and overall public acceptance of small, remotely operated aircraft.

Nine scenarios were run varying the input for a base fare, landing fare, cost per-passenger-mile, auto operational costs, and ingress (waiting) times. The results yielded sensitivity of demand to all these parameters and especially showed a great difference in demand when auto costs were decreased from the standard American Automobile Association (AAA) cost per mile to a likely, future auto operating cost. The challenge that aerospace engineers face is designing an aircraft capable of achieving lower operational costs. The results showed that in order for the ODM to be a competitive mode, the cost per passenger-mile should be kept at $1.

on demand mobility, conditional logit model, demand model