UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The evaluation of alternative airport plans Smith, Margaret Aileen


In the past, the planning of airports has largely been an intuitive process, leading to an often serious misallocation of resources. It is the contention of this thesis that the adoption of a more economic and integrated method of evaluating alternative airport plans could eliminate some of this mis-investment, and that the groundwork for such an evaluation process has already been done in the field of port planning. The evaluation method proposed is the use of a mathematical model of the airport's operation and of the benefit and cost interrelationships arising from the activities performed. The model can then be used to simulate the value of the benefits and costs of a number of possible alternative plans. It is the purpose of this thesis to discuss the applicability of the port model as a tool for airport planning and to point out the ease with which it could be applied both from the point of view of modifications and data requirements and availability. As background to the evaluation process, Chapter 2 presents some general theory and problems of economic evaluation and of the measurement of benefits and costs. Chapter 3 presents a description of planning processes currently being used by the Department of Transport in planning Canada's airports and points out some of the flaws in this approach. Chapter 4 then describes the type of port model now developed in so far as it can be used to determine interrelationships between investment, cost to ships of using the port, cost of port operation, and net community benefits. The calculations derived from the application of the model can then be used to determine the net present value of the benefit and cost streams arising from alternative ways of achieving a given level of port output, and thus to select the best possible combination of facilities. Chapter 5 then points out the similarities and differences between port and airport operation and hence the applicability of and the modifications required in the application of the port model to airport planning situations. The remainder of the chapter delineates the type of data required to construct and use an airport model and the availability of this data to the airport planners. Finally, Chapter 6 summarizes the findings and concludes that, while it has its limitations as a terminal model, as a representation of airport operation and as an evaluation process, the port model can be adapted relatively easily to airport planning to provide a more integrated, more economic approach to the evaluation of alternative airport plans.

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