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The best place to site your vertiport? MTI has a tool for optimising site selection

The Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI), an organized research and training unit in partnership with the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business at San José State University (SJSU) has published its research findings into using a systematic approach for identifying vertiport sites, based on a vertiport case study of the San Francisco Bay Area.

This has established “a framework for a systematic approach to vertiport site selection and recommendations for how a region might plan their Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) network using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). This approach offers consistency in AAM site selection for a region while remaining flexible enough to allow for other local considerations that may differ between regions such as zoning or community preferences,” says the report summary.

“The study area encompassed the greater San Francisco Bay Area, which for this study included Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara Counties. This broad region was chosen to ensure the inclusion of a variety of different urban forms and built environments within a region that would likely have broad implementation of AAM where there is an air, rail, and transit network.”

According to the framework approach:

“Safety is a paramount consideration in the aviation industry and will be the primary influence in any AAM framework. Access is a major consideration of traditional planning and ensures that facilities can be reached through a mix of transportation modes which can positively impact its use. Equity is an emerging concern of modern planning and considers the equity of impacts that a project might have and unequal impacts may stifle a project or create additional considerations on how to ameliorate those inequities.

“The parameters were then assigned to a priority level of high, medium, or low, which varied depending on the geographic form at that place (urban, suburban, or exurban).

“High-priority factors include those which are essentially non-negotiable, and failure to meet any of those factors indicates an unsuitable site.

“Medium priority factors are more flexible to a degree, and, while not meeting these factors is not ideal, they do not necessarily indicate an unsuitable site.

“Low priority factors do not factor into the dichotomy of suitability, but are additional considerations for how ideal the site is for vertiport placement.

“In a real world setting of site selection, suitability can be determined based on four evaluation outcomes. A site which meets all nine factors in the matrix, all parameter categories at all priority levels, can be considered a “Pass” and is highly suitable. One that meets the criteria in high and medium priorities, but not low priority, can be one that is “Highly Considered.” A site that only meets the high priority criteria is further downgraded to “Considered,” and a site that does not   meet high priority criteria, regardless of the other parameters it may fit, is considered a “Fail” in the suitability analysis.”


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