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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Urban Air Mobility: Viability of Hub-Door and Door-Door Movement by Air

  • Author(s): Bulusu, Vishwanath;
  • Sengupta, Raja
  • et al.

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Owing to a century of innovation in connected and automated aircraft design, for the rst time in history, air transport presents a potential competitive alternative to road, for hub-to-door and door-to-door urban services. In this article, we study the viability of air transport, for moving people and goods in an urban area, based on three metrics - enroute travel time, fuel cost and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. We estimate the metrics from emission standards and operational assumptions on vehicles based on current market data and compare electric air travel to gasoline road travel. For passenger movement, air is faster than road for all distances. It fares better on fuel cost and emissions only for longer distances (specic transition distances are stated in the text). For consolidated movement of goods, air is at par with road. Finally, for movement of unconsolidated goods, air again fares better than road on all three metrics. It is also noteworthy that these results are based on a road friendly urban design. Changes in design that facilitate easier access to air based hub-to-door and door-to-door services, would only make the case stronger for Urban Air Mobility (UAM), especially with connected and automated aircraft, as the next revolution in urban transportation.

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