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Vertiport, Vertiport, Wherefore Shall I Integrate You?

Using a GIS-Based Approach to Suss Out Suitable Vertiport Locations

Illustration of a red city bus at the base of a vertiport with an air taxi on top of it.
Integrating vertiports to public transit will enhance public adoption of AAM. [illustration courtesy and copyright Baishali Rahman, Raj Bridgelall, Muhamad Faisal, and Diomo Motuba, North Dakota State University]

Much of the discussion surrounding the integration of urban/advanced air mobility (UAM/AAM) has focused on how best to accommodate this new transportation mode into the National Air Space (NAS) of any given nation-state (such as the United States) or a supranational union of states (such as the European Union).

But, to date, little consideration has been given to what should happen – and more importantly, where it should happen – when it comes to the location of vertiports inside the city limits or a major metropolitan area and, more specifically, relative to its public transit system.

Integrating Urban Air Mobility into a Public Transit System: A GIS-Based Approach to Identify Candidate Locations for Vertiports,” recently published by a team of researchers at North Dakota State University aims to do just that.

Whether or Not You Get Vertigo, Is a Matter for a Different Study

Using San Francisco as a model, the team proposed a method of optimization for vertiport locations which identified 38 potential vertiport locations that would place a vertiport within 10 minutes walking distance of the City’s roughly 3,200 bus stops; doing so could provide quick, easy access to nearly 50% of the city’s bus stop locations.

The optimization analysis did not include specifics, such as whether or not a given bus stop had land or buildings which might be modified or repurposed at those bus stop sites in San Francisco.

The study did provide a formula and methodology city planners can use to form the basis of their analysis as they work to integrate UAM into their city’s public transit system to provide maximum benefits at minimal costs for the greatest number of residents.

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Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke is a California-based writer who is fascinated by the way technology changes our lives.