Conceptual Models of Demand for Electric Propulsion Aircraft in Intra-Urban and Thin-Haul Markets

Spurred by new battery technologies, many companies are developing prototypes for distributed electric propulsion aircraft with vertical take-off-and-landing (VTOL) capabilities. These piloted or autonomous aircraft have the potential to dramatically reduce commuting times in urban areas with congested roadway networks, i.e., instead of sitting in 20 miles of traffic for hours, one could simply fly over the traffic in 15 minutes. This paper highlights ongoing research on distributed electric propulsion aircraft designs and describes how this research could complement and/or compete with other emerging technologies (most notably autonomous vehicles). Given the novelty of these aircraft, the authors conducted four focus groups to better understand potential travelers’ perceptions and willingness to travel in these aircraft and pay for flights. They examined two use cases: one for intra-urban operations using aircraft with VTOL capabilities and the second for thin-haul markets serving destinations up to about 300 miles with an aircraft having nine or fewer seats. Based on insights gained from these focus groups, the authors present two conceptual models of factors that will likely influence demand for these aircraft in intra-urban and thin-haul markets.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee AV040 Standing Committee on Aviation Economics and Forecasting.
  • Authors:
    • Garrow, Laurie A
    • German, Brian J
    • Ilbeigi, Mohammad
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2018


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 22p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01658350
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 18-02552
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jan 29 2018 10:25AM