Land Use Analysis on Vertiports Based on a Case Study of the San Francisco Bay Area

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Land Use Analysis on Vertiports Based on a Case Study of the San Francisco Bay Area


Vertiport research and development trails in the emerging commercial air taxi sector known as Advanced Air Mobility (AAM). Published scholarship remains limited as federal, state, and local governments have yet to create or implement policies for the rapidly progressing larger AAM ecosystem, which is designed around autonomous electric vehicle takeoff and landing aircraft. With the potential for frequent low altitude flights, long-range planning must demonstrate awareness, knowledge, and utilization of geographic information science to select safe and just vertiport locations. This study summarizes the AAM literature and offers planners a set of stakeholder-informed parameters to use in a no-cost preliminary GIS analysis when applied to urban, suburban, and exurban site suitability models. Parameters for this case study were identified under the considerations of safety, access, and equity for vertiport placement and given a high, medium, or low priority level to determine site suitability. The goals of this study are to establish a framework for the systematic approach to vertiport site selection and to provide recommendations for how a region might plan its AAM network, regulations, or best practices. The approach established by this framework would ensure general consistency in AAM land use planning for a region while remaining flexible enough to allow for other considerations that may differ between regions, such as local zoning or state regulations. The study also highlights the importance of integrating a focus on land use planning when implementing AAM, especially as it relates to a case study of the San Francisco Bay Area.



Dr. Wenbin Wei is a Professor in the Department of Aviation and Technology in the College of Engineering at San Jose State University. He is also an Affiliated Professor in the Department of Industrial and System Engineering as well as Director of the Human Automation Integration Lab (HAIL). Before joining the faculty at San Jose State University, Dr. Wei was a research analyst in the Department of Operation Research and Decision Support at American Airlines. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in transportation engineering and management. Dr. Wei has conducted research spanning transportation planning, traffic control and management, multimodal transportation systems, rail and high-speed rail transportation, airport and airline management, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), logistics, and supply chain management. Dr. Wei has obtained more than $2 million in research grants from FAA, NASA, and Caltrans. His research was published in over 40 articles in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings.


Dr. Kerry Rohrmeier, AICP, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at San Jose State University and a former practicing land planner. Dr. Rohrmeier earned a doctorate at the University of Nevada, Reno in Geography in 2013 and has since taught GIS to hundreds of California State University students. Her funded research focus covers Bay Area geographies scaling from sites to regions and is published in prestigious geography and planning journals.


Tiffany Martinez worked as a graduate research assistant for the entire project and was hired as a Transportation Planner at Caltrans following the completion of this study and her MA in Geography from San Jose State University. Ms. Martinez also earned her BA in Global Studies from San Jose State University.


Michael Winans worked as a graduate research assistant toward the end of this project and brought considerable expertise from his role in Airport Operations at San Jose’s Mineta International Airport. Mr. Winans is completing his MS in Urban Planning at San Jose State University and previously earned a BS in Aviation from San Jose State University.


Heungseok Park worked as an undergraduate research assistant at the beginning of this project before being hired as a Transportation Planner at Kimley-Horn consulting. Mr. Park earned a BS in Aviation from San Jose State University during which he won first place on a student team in a national vertiport design challenge sponsored by NASA.

May 2023
Land use planning
Transportation planning
Advanced air mobility (AAM)



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