Urban Air Mobility: Opportunities and Obstacles

Authors: Susan Shaheen, PhD, Adam Cohen Date: May 17, 2021 Abstract: Urban Air Mobility (UAM, also known as advanced air mobility) is an emerging concept that envisions a safe, sustainable, affordable, and accessible air transportation system for emergency management, cargo delivery, and passenger mobility within or traversing a metropolitan area. While numerous societal concerns have been raised about these approaches (e.g., privacy, safety, security, social equity), on-demand aviation has the potential to provide options for emergency services, goods delivery, and passenger mobility in urban and rural areas using small piloted and autonomous aircraft. This chapter provides a short overview of developments in on-demand aviation and a discussion of the potential impacts and challenges of UAM on communities. Potential challenges include safety, financial, and community acceptance, among others. Research that seeks to understand the potential societal barriers can help to identify challenges and mitigate potential UAM concerns. Research on the potential impacts of UAM, coupled with thoughtful planning and implementation, are needed to balance commercial interests, technology innovation, and the public good. View...

An Assessment of the Potential Weather Barriers of Urban Air Mobility (UAM)

Authors: Colleen Reiche, PhD, Frank Brody, Christian McGillen, Joel Siegel, and Adam Cohen Date: November 21, 2018 Abstract: Urban Air Mobility (UAM), a subset of advanced air mobility,is a concept that envisions safe, sustainable,affordable, and accessible air transportation for passenger mobility, cargo delivery, and emergency management within or traversing a metropolitan area. In recent years, several companies have designed and tested enabling elements of this concept, including; prototypes of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft, operational concepts, and market studies to understand potential business models. While UAM may be enabled by the convergence of several factors, a number of barriers such as weather could present challenges to scaling operations.This research discusses the potential weather challenges for operations in adverse conditions. This report presents a comprehensive seasonal and diurnal climatology analysis using historical observations across anticipated operational altitudes (surface –5000 ft AGL) at ten metropolitan areas across the United States for the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD). View...

Advanced Air Mobility: Demand Analysis and Market Potential of the Airport Shuttle and Air Taxi Markets

Authors: Advanced Air Mobility: Demand Analysis and Market Potential of the Airport Shuttle and Air Taxi Markets Date: June 2021 Abstract: Advanced air mobility (AAM) is a broad concept enabling consumers access to on-demand air mobility, cargo and package delivery, healthcare applications, and emergency services through an integrated and connected multimodal transportation network. However, a number of challenges could impact AAM’s growth potential, such as autonomous flight, the availability of take-off and landing infrastructure (i.e., vertiports), integration into airspace and other modes of transportation, and competition with shared automated vehicles. This article discusses the results of a demand analysis examining the market potential of two potential AAM passenger markets—airport shuttles and air taxis. The airport shuttle market envisions AAM passenger service to, from, or between airports along fixed routes. The air taxi market envisions a more mature and scaled service that provides on-demand point-to-point passenger services throughout urban areas. Using a multi-method approach comprised of AAM travel demand modeling, Monte Carlo simulations, and constraint analysis, this study estimates that the air taxi and airport shuttle markets could capture a 0.5% mode share. The analysis concludes that AAM could replace non-discretionary trips greater than 45 min; however, demand for discretionary trips would be limited by consumer willingness to pay. This study concludes that AAM passenger services could have a daily demand of 82,000 passengers served by approximately 4000 four- to five-seat aircraft in the U.S., under the most conservative scenario, representing an annual market valuation of the 2.5 billion USD. View...

Urban Air Mobility: History, Ecosystem, Market Potential, and Challenges

Authors: Adam Cohen, Susan Shaheen, PhD, and Emily Farrar Date: 2021 Abstract: Since the early 20th century, inventors have conceptualized “plane cars” and other urban aerial transportation. Emerging innovations in electrification, automation, and other technologies are enabling new opportunities for on-demand air mobility, business models, and aircraft design. Urban air mobility (UAM) envisions a safe, sustainable, affordable, and accessible air transportation system for passenger mobility, goods delivery, and emergency services within or traversing metropolitan areas. This research employed a multi-method approach comprised of 106 interviews with thought leaders and two stakeholder workshops to construct the history, ecosystem, state of the industry, and potential evolution of UAM. The history, current developments, and anticipated milestones of UAM can be classified into six phases: 1) “flying car” concepts from the early 1910s to 1950s, 2) early UAM operations using scheduled helicopter services from the 1950s to 1980s, 3) re-emergence of on-demand services starting in the 2010s, 4) corridor services using vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) envisioned for the 2020s, 5) hub and spoke services, and 6) point-to-point services. In the future, UAM could face several barriers to growth and mainstreaming, such as the existing regulatory environment; community acceptance; and concerns about safety, noise, social equity, and environmental impacts. UAM also could be limited by infrastructure and airspace management needs, as well as business model constraints. The paper concludes with recommendations for future research on sustainability, social and economic impacts, airspace integration, and other topics. View...

Mobility on Demand (MOD) and Mobility as a Service (MaaS): Similarities, Differences, and Potential Implications for Transportation in the Developing World

Authors: Susan Shaheen, PhD and Adam Cohen Date: September 2021 Abstract: Innovative and emerging transportation services, such as shared mobility, MOD, and MaaS, are expanding across the developing world. MOD emphasizes the commodification of passenger mobility and goods delivery and transportation systems management, whereas MaaS primarily focuses on passenger mobility aggregation and subscription services. The public sector can support and leverage MOD and MaaS through a variety of service, information, fare integration, and data sharing partnerships. In particular, the growth of “super” apps in Africa and Asia are offering consumers all-in-one mobile platforms for a variety of transportation and shopping options, mobile wallets, and other services that, in some cases, offer deeper levels of integration and are more advanced than comparable platforms in Europe and North America. While research on “super” apps is limited, anecdotal evidence suggests that by bundling a variety of consumer services together, these apps have the potential to enhance traveler convenience, multimodal trip planning, and access to goods and services. View...