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Aviation Consulting Services

Operations Research

R&A has extensive experience in operations research, which is the application of analytical methods—including mathematical modeling, simulation, statistics, queuing theory, decision analysis, and algorithms—to make better informed decisions about complex systems. Operations research enables more effective decision-making by using complete data sets and the latest decision-making tools and techniques to predict outcomes and estimate risks.

In airport planning, operations research involves the development and use of analytical tools to supplement technical analyses in all of R&A's service areas. Potential applications of operations research include the evaluation of terminal/landside alternatives, passenger processing optimization, parking system analyses, safety management systems, and airport performance measures (e.g., terminal processing times, facility use, service availability, and delay metrics). Operations research also involves simulation modeling, which is used to test alternative facility layouts and refine them prior to design and implementation, and includes the development of aggregate modules consisting of various airport simulation components (landside, terminal, airside) to ensure that all systems have sufficient capacity to support one another. Operations research can be applied to most planning projects. R&A has applied operations research to projects at numerous airports, including Chicago O'Hare, Denver, Las Vegas McCarran, Los Angeles, Tampa, and Washington Dulles International Airports.

R&A has provided operations research services to airport clients since its inception in 1989. Key operations research services include the following:

  • Airport Systems and Subsystem Optimization Studies – R&A develops models to determine facilities and systems performance by using existing analytical data. Possible application to airport facilities include baggage handling systems, parking facilities, ticket/check-in counters, security screening checkpoints, concessions, curbside roadways, fueling, aircraft deicing, aircraft rescue and firefighting, and passenger and employee busing. Given R&A staff experience and familiarity with airport operations, we have the knowledge and expertise to customize analyses and benchmarks of facility performance.
  • Airport Performance Metrics – R&A's use of facility performance metrics enables the measurement and monitoring of wait times, service availability, accuracy of information, wayfinding, and other performance measures to facilitate continuous improvement at airport facilities and processes.
  • Queuing Analyses – R&A develops analytical models to determine the number of processors and staff required to balance cost with desired level of service. These models can be used to determine delays and maximum wait times, as well as cost trade-offs for differing levels of service. R&A has conducted queuing analyses to determine the optimal number of facilities for existing and future demand scenarios. We have applied these analyses to security checkpoints, check-in facilities, international arrivals facilities, and aircraft deicing operations to determine the optimal number of required facilities.
  • Simulation – R&A uses simulation models designed for each area of planning, including airfield and airspace (Jeppesen's Total Airspace and Airport Modeller [TAAM] and the Federal Aviation Administration's Airport and Airspace Simulation Model [SIMMOD]), terminal (the Comprehensive Airport Simulation Technology [CAST]), and landside (VISSIM and SimTraffic) to determine facility performance and requirements. These simulation models enable R&A to develop technical solutions to solve airport capacity and operational challenges. Our simulation modeling expertise has been applied to address issues associated with terminal/passenger flows, security checkpoint processing, roadway and curbfront demand, aircraft gate use, and airfield/airspace interactions, resulting in efficient facilities that can accommodate future growth in the most cost-effective manner.
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