Two years down the road: Green access to airports made easier 

In 30 months of activity, the LAirA (Landside Airport Accessibility) project looked at ways to improve green, clean and effective access to airports. For the urban areas in their vicinity airports play numerous roles: they are gateways to the rest of the world, economic hubs as well as multimodal transport nodes.

The LAirA project gathered local authorities, airports, service providers and researchers from seven regions: Vienna, Budapest, Warsaw, Milan, Stuttgart, Dubrovnik and Poznan. These regions teamed up to produce change in the mobility behaviour of their airport passengers (96 million) and employees (65.000). For this change to happen, the LAirA partners developed tools such as carpooling platforms. They also carried out awareness raising campaigns to encourage modal shift to green mobility by showing the economic and social attractivity of electric mobility, air-rail links or cycling. 

Carpooling for employees

In many airports across Europe, employees use private cars to get to the airport, most cases revolving around very different work schedules, and the lack of availability of public transport connections in both the geographical area that employees come from, as well as at the time slots needed by employees. 

Budapest Airport collaborated with the carpooling platform Oszkar to make it possible for airport employees to share rides instead of going to work by private car. Communication efforts were put into promoting this carpooling tool and Budapest Airport decided to make the carpooling platform a part of their integrated environmental management. 

At Modlin Airport, nearby Warsaw, a carpooling platform was implemented as well. However, given the small size of the airport and many of its employees already using carsharing in an ad-hoc manner, the results were more modest. The airport decided to focus more on raising awareness on low carbon mobility and, if more interest is shown from the community, to focus at a later stage on the actual implementation of a carpooling platform.

In Milan, SEA Milan Airports collaborated with Jojob to make available a carpooling platform to Linate and Malpensa employees. User engagement proved challenging and SEA Milan Airports will sustain the LAirA carpooling pilot until summer 2020 and deliver ad-hoc additional campaigns to foster its use. 

Mindset change starts with awareness

Awareness of the various possibilities people have to reach an airport besides driving is crucial to modal shift from the private car. 

Poznan Airport in Poland engaged with its employees by giving them the opportunity to come up with their own ideas for reducing their CO2 footprint. This strategy made employees accountable for their commuting means, with some of them choosing to switch to low carbon mobility alternatives, such as car sharing, public transport, electric vehicles and cycling. 

Dubrovnik Airport focused on soft mobility, launching the “Bike to Work” campaign. Sporting a motivating slogan – Burn fat, not oil – the campaign promoted environmentally-friendly transport means through enhanced marketing and communication (videos, social media, leaflets, events). The airport also cooperated with the local authorities, which was a critical success factor, as airport employees are now keener to choose cycling over driving. 

At Stuttgart Airport, employees were targeted through a series of workshops, which fostered acceptance towards sustainable mobility. The results of the workshops lead into an analysis and further measures in line with the Stuttgart Fairport strategy. Thanks to a strong cooperation with the airport’s human resources department and the management, employees are now more open to low carbon mobility alternatives, but the actual up-take depends on the motivation of people. 

Data is the new oil: IT tools steer passengers to green transport

The LAirA project also contributed to enhancing SEA Milan Airports’ existing website and web application. The new functionalities help improve journey planning for airport passengers, by offering real-time data on low carbon mobility options, such as air-rail links and public transport. The pilot was part of the wider surface access strategy that SEA has been developing in recent years. The application was launched at both Milan Airports (Linate and Malpensa) and is not only a mock-up as originally planned, but is currently used by passengers. It provides users with travel information and allows them to plan their journey to and from Milan Airports. In only one month, the application gained over 3,000 users, stirring them towards reducing their carbon footprint by choosing greener access to airports. The travel planner is an integral part of the Milan Airports official application that can be downloaded here

Moving on – Carbon reduction is not a fringe discussion anymore 

In 2020, Europe will be more aware than ever before about the need to reduce carbon emissions. This applies to individual behaviour, as well as large polluters. The tools and best practices developed in the LAirA project for the past two years played an important role in educating and stimulating passengers and employees to turn to modes of transport that are kinder to the environment. 

Change to a green mindset is very challenging and will take time, but the LAirA project has built momentum and developed tools to support this goal. LAirA brought us a step closer towards low carbon mobility and hopefully it will pave the way, as these tools will be maintained and used even after the project ends.