Airports' connective role in megaregions

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Katz, Donald Samuel
Meyer, Michael D.
Garrow, Laurie A.
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The megaregion spatial form has grown in prominence in recent years in planning thought, but the relationship between megaregions and the aviation sector is rather untouched in research. The purpose of this study is to examine the role airports play as transportation hubs for megaregions, and how the megaregions are connected through air traffic. Comparing the megaregions involved an empirical study using attribute data about the megaregions and the flows between them. The infrastructure in the megaregions was compared by density and type of airports, including an examination into airline hubs. The connectivity between megaregions, non-megaregion areas, and the international market was analyzed employing T-100 data, separating the analysis for the passenger and freight sectors. The top flows in the country were examined, along with the relationships each megaregion has individually, and particularly their internal flows. Megaregions are much more active in air travel than non-megaregion areas due to a larger presence of airline hubs and greater infrastructure. The international component of the passenger and freight sectors is growing the fastest in relation to megaregions, but only for the freight sector is this the largest component. The largest component of the passenger sector is the flows between megaregions. Flows within megaregions for the passenger sector are growing slowly and are declining in the freight sector, but short-haul air traffic continues to be the cause of congestion. The megaregion is a suitable level to manage infrastructure investment to better prepare the regions for the coming growth. A megaregion-level institution is best suited to managing the issues which must be faced by the numerous jurisdictions.
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