An automated people mover (APM) is a transportation system with fully automated operations, featuring vehicles on guideways with exclusive right of way. About 30 APM systems are operating at airports worldwide; roughly one-half of these systems are at U.S. airports. APM systems are implemented at airports to facilitate passenger and employee movement, generally within the confines of the airport. They typically operate from passenger check-in areas to airplane gates and between gates, allowing more people to move more quickly over longer distances, connecting large, often dispersed airline terminals. More recently, APM systems have been designed to connect airport terminals with parking facilities, car rental services, regional transportation services, hotels, and other related employment and activity centers.
APMs are vital to the operation of many airports, in that they provide the fastest and sometimes the only means to travel within an airport. Serious problems arise for APM passengers and for an entire airport when an airport APM system does not operate well or stops entirely. Operators of APMs at airports routinely collect data and develop performance measures to monitor and manage their performance. These measures typically address service availability, service reliability, cost, and operation and maintenance contract compliance.
Operators of APM systems at airports would like to make meaningful comparisons of their performance with that of APMs at other airports to assess and improve their performance. A key challenge to conducting meaningful comparisons is that no two airport APM systems are identical. For example, the systems have different sizes, configurations, technologies, maintenance provisions, ages, and operating environments. In addition, performance comparisons must be based on comparable performance measures using comparable data. Currently, there are no performance measures or data-collection practices common to all airport APMs, and research is needed to develop meaningful tools for measuring and comparing performance.
The objective of this research is to develop a user-friendly guidebook for measuring performance of automated people mover (APM) systems at airports. The guidebook should identify a set of performance measures and associated data requirements for APM operators at airports to assess and improve performance, compare APM systems, and plan and design future APM systems. The performance measures should address the efficiency, effectiveness, and quality of APM systems at airports, particularly focusing on impacts on APM passengers and on airport performance.