Regional Air Passenger Survey & Forecasts


Simultaneous, regional surveys of air passengers at all three commercial airports (BWI, DCA, IAD) have been performed in 1973/74, 1981/82, 1987, 1992, 1998, 2000, 2002 and every two years since 2005. These surveys provide data which are essential for the airport system planning and master planning processes. 

The Regional Air Passenger Survey is designed as an at-gate lobby interview survey. Interviewers distribute survey questionnaires to departing air passengers in the gate holding areas for pre-selected flights, and then collect the filled out questionnaires as the passengers complete them or as the passengers are called to board their flight. Late arriving passengers are given a survey questionnaire with a postage paid mail-back envelope and asked to fill in the questionnaire during their flight and return it by mail. In the 2013 survey for the first time respondents also had the option of completing the survey online using a smartphone, tablet, or computer. 

The questionnaires ask travelers about the purpose of their air travel, how they traveled to the airport (drove, rode transit, etc.), and other information to support the airport system planning and airport ground access planning processes.

Origin/Destination Forecasts

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) publishes Terminal Area Forecasts (TAF) of aviation activity for mainly FAA towered airports. While these forecasts were produced for passenger enplanements, there is no origin/destination work done for the region. Origin/destination information is essential for airport-related transportation studies and for airport master plan landside facility determination. While airport choice depends on a number of differing variables, in the long term, given a certain amount of growth in air travel, a logical division in airport use can be determined.

This project develops an air passenger forecasting technique, based on the technique used in COG's cooperative forecasting program, and an airport origin/destination allocation based on a trip distribution model calibrated from the Air Passenger Survey data. This origin/destination data is then used to update airport ground access forecasts.