Airfield Passenger Transportation System at McMurdo Station, Antarctica
ENGINEER RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER HANOVER NH COLD REGIONS RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING LAB
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The United States Antarctic Programs McMurdo Station in Antarctica is currently served by three airfields. Combined, these airfields are used for all passenger service and are a key element of the cargo supply system. The farthest of the sites lies approximately 16 miles from the main base on Ross Island, requiring travel across a glacial ice shelf. Travel time to this distant airfield currently takes 1 hour or more for passengers. The objective of this study was to explore the possibility of reducing this travel time by improving efficiencies in the McMurdo airfield passenger transportation system. With the sponsors help, requirements for the system were identified, defined, and quantitatively scored for use in evaluating future alternatives. Safety, reliability, and travel time were the highest priorities. A site visit to observe current practices and interview key staff concentrated on three facets of passenger transport roads, vehicles, and passenger management. Current routes, vehicle needs, and data recording practices were assessed. Recommendations are provided for action and further study.
- Surface Transportation and Equipment