Los Angeles International Airport - Photo by LAANE

This afternoon, Green L.A. Transportation Work Group folks received an early look at a Coalition for Clean Air study on airport pollution. The presenter/researcher is Colleen Callahan, and the study isn’t quite finished, and not available on-line, but will be available some time in the near future at the CCA website.

Here’s the blurb that was sent out announcing the meeting:

While Colleen’s report is larger in scope, for this presentation she will focus on passenger ground access transportation at Los Angeles International. LAX is the most polluting airport in the region and the vehicles traveling to and from LAX are most significant source of pollution related to the airport’s operations. Colleen finds that LAX’s ground access pricing system is such that the most polluting and least efficient transportation mode– the kiss-and-ride option that results in four trips versus two or less– is incentvized while less polluting modes– drive and park, taxi, shuttle, FlyAway, and transit– are disincentized. For example, LAX collects $2.50 every time a cab enters the airport, but there is no charge for private vehicles to enter the LAX circle and the immediate roads into LAX. Colleen’s main recommendation is to increase the viability of alternative ground access options by: 1) decreasing the cost of other modes relative to the kiss-and-ride mode and 2) increasing transit options through collaborative, regional approaches.

Two interesting things I learned that I didn’t know:

1) The “non-commercial general aviation airports” (not LAX, but the other ones – frequented by private jets – including Van Nuys) are a significant source of lead, which is still used in small airplane fuels. Scary that we still haven’t learned the lesson of lesson of just how toxic lead is. We, in the city of L.A. should ban it from our airport fuel use.

2) For a lot of air pollution impacting airport communities, car traffic is more responsible than airplanes are. So, to get a handle on airport pollution, we need to look at things like TDM (Transportation Demand Management.) We need to look at getting more people to the airport via transit, taxis, and bicycles… and fewer “kiss-and-ride” drop offs.

Looking forward to reading the finished study and to making progress on solving these important issues.

updated 13 April 2010 9pm