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Airport Capacity Problem. Southern California Transportation Alternatives LCDR Kirby and LT Burba. Introduction Southern California’s Airports are at Capacity Generally crowded airspace and crowded airports Model of major US airports

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airport capacity problem

Airport Capacity Problem

Southern California Transportation Alternatives

LCDR Kirby and LT Burba

  • Southern California’s Airports are at Capacity
  • Generally crowded airspace and crowded airports
  • Model of major US airports
  • Introduction of a High Speed Rail to reduce strain on Southern California’s airports
Mark Hansen, a UC Berkeley professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Director of the National Center of Excellence for Aviation Operations Research: “a bullet train could provide congestion relief at major airports like LAX and SFO where costly delays are high and rising by cutting the number of passengers traveling to and from Los Angeles and San Francisco by air. These delays due to airport congestion could benefit high-speed rail.”
  • Multi-commodity Flow model
  • Airports represented as nodes
  • Each node capacity based on the average of the peak air traffic (in aircraft) for five days, over 1 year (data from the FAA’s Air Traffic Activity System Database)
  • These are the limiting constraints
Methodology (cont’d)
  • Supply and demand:
  • Set by a proportion determined by the population of the cities and the distance between them. The distance factor forces a preference for regional flights over longer ones (distance from Validated against FAA database.
  • Based on a “Southwest” type airline
Methodology (Cont’d)
  • Flow is restricted, and then the model is run to see how many trains are needed to make up for reduced air carrying capacity.
  • Train capacities assumed to be similar to 450 aircraft.
  • Model will report “infeasible” until a acceptable number of trains is found.
Methodology (Cont’d)
  • Model reports an infeasible solution until an acceptable number of high speed rail support is added
  • This is done by adding train nodes until the model finds a solution.
  • All costs based on time.
Next Three slides:
  • Division of country into regions
  • Sample airport to airport arcs (there are too many to show on the chart, 169 to be exact)
  • Sample High Speed Rail set up. High Speed Rail does not replace air routes. It merely augments them.
Focus Area





Train Network Linking

San Diego, Las Vegas and Los Angeles

sample route
Sample Route



Capacity = # flights, Cost = 0 (time)

Capacity = # flights, Cost = 0 (time)



Capacity = inf. flights, Cost = time of flight

sample route with train added capacity
Sample Route with Train(added capacity)


Dest. Train Sta.


Capacity = people. flights, Cost = time of train ride

Capacity = # flights, Cost = 0 (time)

Capacity = inf, Cost = 30 (time)



Dest. Apt.

Capacity = inf, Cost = 30 (time)

first run
First Run
  • Model can’t handle capacity (that’s good!). Only %55 of the total demand.
  • Now, to add a train to a southern California arc (by adding train capacity) and see if that reduces the unmet demand.
  • Goal is to reduce flights with the use of the trains. But, we are trying to show trains will make a difference in the first place.
subsequent runs
Subsequent Runs

Adding Three trains really didn’t help. Only a change of 1% in the demand not met.

recommendations and discussion
Recommendations and Discussion
  • Flow based on a arbitrary ratio, using population and distance (with a constant). Recommend a more accurate value for commodity flow.
  • Also based on the entire population traveling, that might be a problem
if we only had more time
If We Only Had More Time…
  • Account for the affect car commuters turned train commuters would have on the capacities of the trains
  • Network expansion nationwide
  • Cost in $$$ instead of time
one last thing what would happen if la was leveled
One Last thing… what would happen if LA was leveled?

Turns out, not much! (Almost the same as the previous slide)

  • Federal Aviation Administration, Air Traffic Management System and Database:
  • Institute of Transportation Studies, U.C. Berkeley:
  • Los Angeles Airport News release:
  • The National Center for Excellence for Aviation Operations Research:
  • Maps of the World:
  • The Van Allen Institute, High Speed Rail Capacity and Use: