UAM Market size and value for Airport shuttle and UberX kind of services

wassaf akhtar
3 min readOct 12, 2021


Airport shuttle services


Wassaf Akhtar | 12/10/2021

A First-principles approach methodology was used to calculate market size and value of Airport Shuttle and Uber X on demand travel Markets.

A demand modeling was performed using a five-step process, including:

  1. Trip Generation, 2) Scoping, 3) Trip Distribution, 4) Mode Choice , 5) Constraints

Step 1: Trip Generation
This is the first step in demand modeling and results in trip production and trip attractions. For this step the model was calibrated using the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) data that defines trips in
two categories:
Mandatory trips (e.g., work trips)
Discretional trips (e.g., shopping, entertainment, dinner, etc.)

Step 2: Trip Scoping

The analysis was then conducted at a census tract level for mode types classified as driving, ride-sharing, taxi, public transportation, and walking to achieve optimum fidelity in results and computational speed.

Next, existing infrastructure (i.e., helipads, referred to as vertiports in the study) and airports (small or big) obtained from Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Aviation Environment Design Tool (AEDT)
database were used for first few years of operations. This assumed that no new vertiports would be constructed before the UAM market emerges. The effect of capacity enhancements in the form of additional vertiports and increased capacity per vertiports were evaluated in the Monte Carlo based
sensitivity analyses. Each infrastructure was assigned to each tract using a nearest neighbor algorithm. No two infrastructure were assigned to the same tract.

Step 3: Trip Distribution
Trips were distributed between census tracts using a simplified gravity model assuming equal likelihood of individual trip interchanges between the tracts. All the trips where UAM total travel time was more than the travel time for ground transportation were removed from further analysis.

Step 4: Mode Choice
Mode Choice Modeling was used to predict traveler mode choice while completing a certain trip. Air Taxi and Airport Shuttle service was made to compete with personal cars, taxi, ride-hailing service, and public
transportation, among others. Next, a utility function was developed based on two key attributes that influence choice of mode, travel time, and travel cost per median household income per hour. Coefficients of the utility function was calibrated by fitting a logic model to the training data generated
using the 2016 American Community Survey and General Population Survey described in societal barriers section.

Step 5: Constraints
As a final step, demand generated in Step 4 was constrained by passenger’s willingness to pay, infrastructure availability and capacity, time of day and visual flight rules operation restrictions. Across the sample of ten urban areas considered in this analysis, air taxi and airport shuttle markets were found to be viable However, it was observed that approximately 0.5% of unconstrained trips (air taxi and airport shuttle combined) were captured after applying all constraints considered in the base case scenario. It was observed that, in the near term, the Air Taxi market and Airport Shuttle market has a combined
potential demand of 55,000 daily trips (or 82,000 daily passengers), which represented 0.1% of total daily work trips taken across the U.S. This potential demand for UAM has an annual market value of $2.5 bn and could be served by approximately 4,000 aircraft, mainly comprising of 4-seat and 5-seat aircraft. However, under the best case (unconstrained) scenario, it was observed a potential demand of 11 million daily trips (20% of all the daily work trips taken in the U.S.) at a market value of $500 billion.