Thought Leadership Series: Passenger Journey

In 2019, Swanson Rink analyzed the Passenger Security Screening Checkpoint at Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF) to determine the right number of checkpoint lanes for passenger load. The study revealed interesting possibilities, but then the pandemic hit.

With the onset of the Covid pandemic, touchless processes and social distancing became pressing concerns, so we returned to the original study and expanded our analysis to encompass the entire passenger journey from curbside to boarding. We investigated new technologies and protocols to identify the most effective means of establishing a safe, secure, journey that is not only touchless and seamless but also cost effective for stakeholders and passengers.

The expanded study focused on reducing queues and time-in-system throughout the passenger journey. We captured metrics that included the percent of passengers processed in less than ten minutes, number of passengers in queue, number of passengers that missed their flights, and the number of lanes or pieces of equipment required to process passengers at each stage in the travel journey.

Thought Leadership Series: Deicing


While deicing and anti-icing glycol-based products are biodegradable, spent fluid that reaches habitable streams can adversely affect fish and other aquatic life. Disposal processes require large quantities of dissolved oxygen (DO) for microbial decomposition and additives that enhance deicing performance are non-biodegradable and toxic. As a result, airport operators are constantly on the hunt for cost-effective and environmentally sound solutions to dispose of waste deicing and anti-icing products.

Currently, many airports process deicing and anti-icing waste via managed drainage to underground storage and then transfer to local landfills, which still has environmental impacts. Others have successfully dealt with disposing of waste deicing fluid without harmful effects to the local ecosystem, but few have found a financially successful solution.

Our team recently worked with Jviation on a ramp improvement project for the Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE) that serves Vail and Beaver Creek ski resorts. Our task was to identify viable waste disposal alternatives and evaluate cost-of-ownership, considering first costs, operating costs, and major repair/replacement cost for a life expectancy of 20 years.

Aviation White Paper: Optimizing the Passenger Journey (in the era of Coronavirus) by Stephen Bennett

Any frequent traveler will tell you that air travel has always had its challenges, and now the risks associated from outdated technologies are intensified by COVID-19. From the airport’s perspective, implementing efficiency upgrades to improve the passenger journey will prove even more challenging because the pressure to make fundamental changes in how an airport operates is real and has the potential of imposing an extreme financial burden. There is a pressing need for better. And we can do better. This paper will explain how.

Article located here: The Passenger JourneySRI.pdf

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Aviation White Paper: Systems Planning for Passenger Experience

With the drastically different world we are living in right now, we have to wonder what airport travel will look like in the future.  The high and necessary degrees of effort that have been taken to avoid large crowds in today’s current atmosphere will most definitely carry forward and affect future airport design.  Swanson Rink has long provided passenger flow simulations to eliminate congestion in one area of the airport (such as security checkpoint), but we believe the focus will now be on Airports as a whole, with a smooth, congestion-free passage from curbside to boarding bridge.  Steve Bennett’s article, In Defense of a Systems Planning Approach to Improve the Passenger Experience further details this point.

Article located here: Systems Planning for Passenger Experience.pdf

Fresh from the Oven – Denver 2019 Amendments

On Dec. 26, 2019, the City Council of Denver approved the new 2019 Denver Amendments to the 2018 ICC codes, ushering upcoming projects in Denver into a new era. Simon Xie, Swanson Rink’s Senior Fire Protection Engineer, has been tracking these changes and has provided the following summary.


  1. After the official adoption of the 2019 Denver Amendments, there will be a four-month grace period within which projects can still use the 2016 Denver Amendments for the permit. After the grace period, the building official may only approve the 2016 Denver Amendments on a case-by-case basis.
    • The new amendments are part of an effort to switch from the 2015 ICC model codes to the 2018 ICC codes. This means Denver Codes will also carry many of these significant changes in the model codes. Furthermore, several major changes in the amendments will actually be borrowed from the draft changes to the 2021 ICC codes. Here are two examples:
    1. Fires involving lithium-ion batteries have caught the attention of the news, including fires with cell-phones, electric vehicles, or energy storage systems. As battery technologies evolve, the regulations will continue to change to keep up.
    2. Have you heard the buzz about Tall Wood Buildings? If you’re interested in building one in Denver, you can rest assured – the tall wood construction provisions from 2021 IBC have been borrowed and put into the 2019 Denver Amendment.
  2. The first-ever Denver Green Code will soon be published. You can find the latest draft version of the Denver Green Code by clicking here. Based on the 2018 International Green Construction Code, the 2019 Denver Green Code offers more stringent requirements. Compliance with the Denver Green Code is optional, but the City and County of Denver is planning incentives to promote this new code – expedited permit review and reduced permitting fees are some of the potential incentives.

Building Code and Existing Building Code:

  1. Let’s welcome the new member to the family – Building Code Appendix U, Tall Wood Buildings. Mass-timber constructions can go higher with this new appendix paving the way.
  2. Struggling about the most effective egress strategy for super high-rise buildings? Self-evacuation elevators are now permitted. Note that using the elevator as part of the egress strategy needs to be validated through a sophisticated egress analysis.
  3. You may have enjoyed the 2016 Denver Building Code Appendix Q, a consolidated location for all requirements of access control. However, all these access control requirements will no longer be located in Appendix Q and will instead, be spread throughout different sections of the code.
  4. Equal and easy building access for everyone – powered public entrances are now required for Group A (except A-5), B, M, and R-1 with high occupant load.
  5. Another step to greater equality – all-gender provisions for the toilet and bathing rooms are added.

Fire Code:

  1. The most significant update is the brand new Chapter 12 from the 2018 IFC. This chapter is also enhanced by the 2019 Denver amendments. In a nutshell, this is the chapter that contains all the requirements about building electrical energy generation and storage, i.e. standby/emergency power, photovoltaic systems, fuel cells, and battery and capacitor energy storage systems.
  2. Smoke control systems might be one of the most complex building systems. Compared to the approach used in many other jurisdictions, Denver’s smoke control approach is quite unique. The amendments keep Denver’s legacy approach with new specifics to materialize the interpretations from the fire department (i.e. the make-up air for the unique high-rise floor smoke exhaust systems).
  3. Watch out for the new term “fire command room” introduced by the amendment. A fire command room is required in each building that requires an emergency voice/alarm communication system. The fire command room has similar requirements to the “fire command center” required in high-rise buildings.
  4. When did you last check the Fire Department Connection (FDC)? The new amendments start retroactively requiring all FDCs to have better protection against vandalism.

Energy Conservation Code and Green Construction Code:

  1. You may have heard about the Denver 80×50 Climate Action Plan – the goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% below the 2005 level by 2050. The 2019 Denver Amendments and the new Denver Green Codes are the first concrete steps toward this goal. The energy conservation goals laid out in the amendments will achieve greater energy conservation than the 2018 IECC.
  2. The Energy Cost Budget (ECB) method is no longer accepted.
  3. Requirements around air barriers and thermal envelopes are more stringent. Lighting power allowances and daylighting controls are all enhanced for greater energy conservation. Mechanical and plumbing systems are also required to reach greater efficiencies.
  4. New IECC amendments are added to require new commercial buildings to be “EV ready” and “Solar ready”.
  5. Denver Green Code (DGC) offers four compliance pathways: 1. Prescriptive requirements from the DGC; 2. LEED Platinum; 3. Net Zero Energy, and 4. Passive House + Non-energy DGC.

To conclude, there are many changes in the new 2019 Denver Amendments that create both challenges and opportunities. For help navigating these, contact Simon at Swanson Rink with any questions. or 303-832-2666

The Way Forward?

Swanson Rink’s Steve Bennett, Vice President of Aviation and Bill Gibbs, Vice President of Baggage Handling Systems wrote a white paper on Individual Carrier Systems for baggage handling at US airports, and it was recently published in Airport World magazine.

You can read the full article here: The way forward.pdf

Swanson Rink White Paper: Individual Carrier Systems

There are a number of advanced baggage handling system technologies that have been implemented in Europe and other parts of the world, but are yet to be embraced in the United States. One of the more intriguing technologies is the Individual Carrier System or ICS. European airports that have successfully used ICS include Munich, Heathrow, Barcelona, Oslo and Helsinki. We have heard arguments that ICS is too expensive and the benefits don’t justify the added cost; we decided to find out for ourselves.

Read the White Paper Here!