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Inclusion of Sustainability Analysis in a National Airport Design Competition

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Aerospace Division Technical Session 2

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Paper Authors


Mary E. Johnson Ph.D. Purdue Polytechnic Institute Orcid 16x16

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Mary E. Johnson earned her BS, MS and PhD in Industrial Engineering from The University of Texas at Arlington. After 5 years in aerospace manufacturing, Dr. Johnson joined the Automation & Robotics Research Institute in Fort Worth and was program manager for applied research programs. Fourteen years later, she was an Industrial Engineering assistant professor at Texas A&M - Commerce before joining the School of Aviation & Transportation Technology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana in 2007 as an Associate Professor. She is a Co-PI on the FAA Center of Excellence for general aviation research known as PEGASAS and leads engineering efforts in the Air Transport Institute for Environmental Sustainability. Her research interests are aviation sustainability, data driven process improvement, and engine emissions.

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Yue Gu Purdue University

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Yue Gu has a M.S. in Aviation Management at Purdue University and a B.S. in Aviation Management from Louisiana Tech University. He is a Ph.D. candidate and research assistant at Purdue University. His research areas are general aviation safety and airport sustainability, primarily focuses on airport operational sustainability. He received the Ross Fellowship from Purdue University. He also had an internship at Monroe Regional Airport in Monroe, LA.

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Lorraine E. Holtaway Purdue Polytechnic Institute

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Lorraine E. Holtaway is a Ph.D. student in the School of Aviation and Transportation Technology at Purdue University.

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Airports nationwide and globally are including sustainability in their long-range planning and yearly metrics. While there are environmental concerns, airports are also including social, economic, and sometimes operational concerns in their sustainability planning. Some technology and engineering academic programs are including sustainability in their course offerings. Technology and engineering professionals are seeking to apply the principles of sustainability to their respective areas of expertise. The Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP), a program of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, sponsors an annual national airport design competition for university-level students. Students at U.S. colleges and universities prepare 40-page design packages that propose innovative designs to solve challenges facing airports, either as part of a course or as an independent project with faculty sponsors. The online archive of winning design proposals includes 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in the four challenges areas. In 2017, these four challenges were: airport environmental interactions, runway safety/runway incursions/runway excursions, airport operations and maintenance, and airport management and planning. The competition requires a full design package with a cost/benefit analysis and a risk analysis, but a sustainability analysis is not required. In 2017, three of the four 1st place teams included sustainability in their proposed designs. Past winning teams have been comprised of students in a variety of disciplines such as civil engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial engineering and aviation technology. In this paper, the usage of sustainability principles and metrics in the analysis portion of the design packages are examined to understand in what ways sustainability is used by the winning teams over the past 10 years. This paper explores the topics of previous winning design packages, the disciplines of the students and faculty advisors, and the level and type of inclusion of sustainability. Insights from students and faculty of winning teams are highlighted. Statistics are used to analyze trends. The trends in the winning team proposals may reflect the level of importance of sustainability in industry and may support the need for explicitly including sustainability in courses in engineering and technology. The level and type of sustainability analyses may inform future competition teams and may be used by instructors as a tangible way to include sustainability in their engineering and technology courses.

Johnson, M. E., & Gu, Y., & Holtaway, L. E. (2018, June), Inclusion of Sustainability Analysis in a National Airport Design Competition Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30640

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