The Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) released new research, "Land Use Analysis on Vertiports Based on a Case Study of the San Francisco Bay Area," that aims to establish a framework for the systematic approach to vertiport site selection and provides recommendations for AAM best practices.
Vertiports, areas that support electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, require more research in the emerging air sector known as Advanced Air Mobility (AAM).
AAM is air transportation using eVTOL aircraft to move people and cargo between places not easily served by surface transportation or existing aviation modes.
More About the MTI Study
The approach established by this study ensures consistency in AAM land-use planning for a region while remaining flexible enough for regional differences like local zoning or state regulations.
The study is the result of a year-long regional geographic information system (GIS) case study of the San Francisco Bay Area analyzing vertiport site suitability across five counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara Counties).
The study found that the number of suitable sites for vertiport placements increases with compact urban form and population density.
“The compact urban form of San Francisco contains higher population densities and, as a result, has a higher output of suitable parcels (1392). By comparison, San Jose in its suburban form contains only 43 resultant parcels that meet high priority standards,” explained the study’s authors.
MTI Recommends Key Policies
Key policy recommendations reveal that AAM land-use planning should:
- Include participatory GIS in AAM stakeholder workshops and public meetings with 3D visualizations and auralizations to reduce fears about eVTOL aircraft noise and their aesthetics impacts.
- Prioritize locations needing intermodality, such as hospitals and transit stations.
- Value proximity to safe pedestrian and bicycle routes.
- Understand that suitability varies by community and that preferences change.
- Incorporate vertiports in Transit Oriented Development (TOD) plans and policies as a form of TOD infill and redevelopment.
- Incorporate GIS site suitability AAM analysis into the Transportation and Land Use sections of comprehensive plans.
- Add vertiport as a new land use category in land development codes and zoning ordinances.