Airport modelling has concentrated on specific subsystems of the airport complex, such as the landside (terminals), the airside (runways and taxiways) and the access/egress system (roads, parking, etc.). However, users must manually co-ordinate inputs and outputs for the various models in order to account for the interaction between the airport subsystems. Similar co-ordination is required for users to mix strategic models (usually involving a low level of modelling detail) with tactical models (requiring a high level of detail in data and system definition).
The principal objective of the TAPE project was to develop a working prototype of an integrated environment, suitable for the study of overall airport performance, i.e. incorporating both airside and landside elements and different degrees of detail in the analysis, under different scenarios of demand and airport configuration.
The project has developed a prototype model, which distinguishes from related work in the field, in that it integrates landside and airside analysis, integrates microscopic models (suitable for detailed analysis and tactical studies) and macroscopic models (suitable for strategic planning), and uses a common flight schedule to run different models.
The results of evaluations carried out with the operators concerned (Linate and Malpensa Airports, both in Milan) indicate the following strengths of the TAPE concept and prototype:
- successful integration of airside and landside analysis and of macroscopic and microscopic models;
- development of a new, user-friendly and extremely fast model, SLAM, for macroscopic analysis of passenger terminal operations;
- development of a new and extremely fast model, TAPECAP, for analysis of airside capacity and the combination of TAPECAP with DELAYS to quickly and efficiently compute airside delays;
- simplification of data preparation for analyses involving the entire airport, using a common flight schedule;
- significant reduction of time and effort spent for airport analysis;
- effective identification of bottlenecks.
The TAPE concept and prototype have already gained wide acceptance within one of the largest airport authorities in Europe, and have provided support in the planning for one of the few major new airports now under development. The SLAM model, the analytical aggregate model for estimating capacity and delays which was specifically developed for the needs of TAPE, represents the only quick and easy aggregate model available at present for determining terminal capacity.
Expansion of the capabilities of the TAPE prototype was recommended during the evaluation process to include additional model integration and improvements in database centralisation, further simplification of preparation and modification of inputs, animation, environmental considerations such as noise and air pollution and further refinement of the SLAM model.