Research

An Introduction to the Airline Industry and Air Traveler Behavior

After the U.S. airline industry was deregulated in 1978, airlines were thrown into a new environment, one in which they could compete on price and determine where, when, and with which planes they wanted to fly. Sales and marketing gained importance as new programs, such as frequent flyer programs and corporate volume agreements, were developed to attract and retain valuable customers. In the decade that followed, operations research played a critical role in an airline’s individual success as the industry raced to develop models in areas such as scheduling, pricing, revenue...

Consumer Welfare Impacts of Airline Mergers

Since 2005, the US airline industry has seen a wave of consolidation.  These include the US Airways  – America West merger in 2005; the Delta – Northwest merger in 2008; the Southwest – AirTran merger in 2010; the United – Continental merger in 2011, and the US Airways - American merger in 2013.  However, the most recent merger between US Airways and American (AA) was been challenged by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ claimed that the US–AA merger would harm consumer welfare by increasing fares and ancillary fees.  The DOJ...

LARCH: A Freeware Package for Estimating Discrete Choice Models

LARCH is a software package written in Python and C++ by Jeffrey Newman that can be used to estimate multinomial, nested, and cross-nested logit models.  The software exploits computational  opportunities that arise from the use of semi-aggregate data (where the explanatory data for choice scenarios are not necessarily
unique for each decision-maker) in discrete choice models. This data feature is commonly encountered with large transactional databases that have limited consumer information, such as airiline itinerary choice models.  Benchmarking experiments against...

Airline Customers' Willingness to Pay to Reserve a Seat

Many people find air travel frustrating. Flight delays, missed connections, full flights, long security lines and add-on fees are just a few reasons why air travel can be so frustrating. The U.S. Department of Transportation helps make air travel less frustrating by setting policies that protect the rights of air travelers. For example, at a Senate panel in 2012, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that he had been urging airlines not to charge fees to reserve more popular coach seats.

"It can be challenging for government agencies to design policies that best balance the...

Using Online Data to Estimate Flight-Level Price Elasticities

Network-planning models are used to forecast the profitability of airline schedules. Airlines use these models to evaluate the costs and revenues associated with network design decisions and strategic planning initiatives (e.g., equipment purchase decisions, minimum connection time studies, code-share and joint-venture scenarios). The majority of network-planning models use discrete choice models to represent how customers select itineraries by making trade-offs among carriers, time of day, level of service, and price. Network planning models use comprehensive schedule and passenger...

Integrating Passenger Behavior into Revenue Management Models

Shortly after the U.S. airline industry was deregulated in 1978, People Express Airlines started service in 1981. Through offering low fares on routes operated by legacy carriers, People Express was able to gain substantial market share. American Airlines responded to this new competitor by developing a revenue management (RM) system that was implemented in 1985. By forecasting demand for different products, the RM system was able to determine how many lower-priced and higher-priced tickets that American Airlines should sell. Unable to compete against American’s new system which was...

Segmentation of Airline Markets Using Descriptive and Cluster Analyses

In recent years, there has been interest in forecasting demand for revenue managment (RM) applications at the network (versus flight) level. That is, instead of forecasting demand and optimizing the set of offered products for a single flight, researchers forecast demand and control product availablity for directional itineraries. Origin-destination pairs (OD) consisting of at least one flight and several additional characteristics, such as point-of-sale, departure date, and departure time define these itineraries. The transition to network models has led to many successful state-of-the-...

National Transit Database for Georgia's Rural Transit Systems

The National Transit Database (NTD) is the primary source for information and statistics on the transit systems of the United States. The State of Georgia and more specifically, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) as a recipient of funds from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is required to report service and financial data for all rural transit systems in Georgia that receive Section 5311 funds on an annual basis. The large and diverse number of entities reporting necessitates the need for quality controls in the data collection process. There may be opportunities to...

Economic Impact Analysis for Georgia's Short Line Rails

National and State rail networks include Class I, II, and III railroads.  The classification depends on the level of operating revenue generated, with at least $467 million and $37.4 million for Class I and II railroads, respectively. Railroads with revenues below $37.4 million are Class III railroads, also known as “short line” railroads.  Short line railroads include local railroads as well as switching and terminal railroads. The State of Georgia rail network currently includes 4,649 route miles. National (Class I) carriers operate 78% of the system and short line...

Extending HYRISK to Predict Scour Risk as a Function of Soil Erodibility Characteristics

The majority of bridge failures in the U.S. are the result of bridge foundation scour. However, determining which bridges are most vulnerable to scour is challenging – particularly in Georgia where more than 5,000 bridges have unknown foundations. Financially, it is not feasible to GDOT to thoroughly evaluate scour risk for all of these bridges – to do so would cost at least $100 million.  GDOT must prioritize bridges for scour screenings in a way that identifies those bridges that are most likely to benefit from the installation of monitoring or counter-scour measures....

Flipped Classrooms

The flipped classroom is becoming increasingly popular at universities due to its perceived benefits in promoting active learning and decreasing educational costs.  Studies have found positive benefits associated with flipped classrooms; however, many have failed to control for confounding factors; examples of confounding factors include studies that compare courses taught by different instructors and/or across courses taught in different semesters using different quizzes).

The objective of this research is to compare the traditional and flipped classrooms in an undergraduate...

Alternative Data Sources for Transportation Planning

In 2011, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) spent more than $2 million to survey the travel patterns of approximately 10,000 households in its 20-county planning area [1]; this survey is the primary source of data for the region’s travel demand models. Travel models are a system of smaller models that predict auto ownership, trip making, route choice, and other variables. This modeling system helps quantify impacts associated with proposed transportation investments or policies and helps metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) achieve goals in regional mobility and air quality...