World’s busiest single-runway commercial airports

Gatwick Airport - Source:

Gatwick Airport – Source:

Every once in a while when you cannot find a list or comparison on the internet, it is time to find the individual data sources and create the comparison database yourself. First it was the tallest airport control towers, then the largest airports by land area, then the longest underwater highway tunnels, and so on and so on.

In that spirit of discovery, below is a list of the busiest single-runway commercial airports based on 2014 and in some cases 2013 passenger data. I hope the information is as useful to you as it is interesting to me. One fascinating tidbit is the only one of these airports I have personally ever flown in/out of is #1 – London Gatwick.

Any updates, additions, or corrections are most welcome.



Posted in adaptive reuse, aerospace, Africa, air travel, airport planning, airports, Asia, aviation, China, cities, commerce, economic development, Europe, geography, globalization, history, India, infrastructure, land use, logistics, North America, planning, South America, Statistics, tourism, Trade, traffic, transportation, Travel, UK, urban planning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s your choice for New Zealand’s new flag



And then there were four. Here are the four finalists for New Zealand’s new flag. Personally, of these I prefer the top left, which essentially retains the colors and the Southern Cross star system from the New Zealand’s current flag and adds the Silver Fern. the other three are too drab to me.

But, I still don’t understand why none of the 40 semi-finalists below had a Kiwi bird included. Go figure. What’s your choice from the four finalists above?



Posted in advertising, art, branding, civics, civility, Communications, culture, environment, geography, government, history, nature, Oceania, peace, pictures, tourism, Travel, Welcome, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

City names with the most syllables (in English)



Below is my list of the city names with the most syllables when pronounced in English. These geographic brain benders and tongue twisters do not include hamlets, villages, and/or small towns. Any additions or corrections to his list of cities are most welcome. Cheers!

One Word

  • Casalpusterlengo, Itlay = 6 syllables
  • Thiruvananthapuram, India = 8 syllables
  • Indianapolis, IN, USA = 6 syllables

Two Words

  • Belo Horizonte, Brazil = 6 syllables
  • Guatemala City, Guatemala = 6 syllables
  • Oklahoma City, OK, USA = 6 syllables

Three Words

  • Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, USA = 8 syllables
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil = 6 syllables
  • Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, QC, Canada = 8 syllables
  • San Juan Capistrano, CA, USA = 6 syllables
  • San Luis Obispo, CA, USA = 6 syllables
  • Stratford-Upon-Avon, UK = 6 syllables
  • Truth or Consequences, NM, USA = 6 syllables

Four Words

  • Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, FL, USA = 6 syllables

Sources:, personal knowledge, 2016 Rand McNally Road Atlas, and 2011 AA Road Atlas of Europe

Posted in cities, civics, Communications, fun, geography, Language, Maps, reading, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Soaring into aviation history aboard the Southern Cross

The Southern Cross landing at Brisbane Airport in 1928 - Source:

Southern Cross landing at Brisbane Airport on June 9, 1928 – Source:

Those of us who grow up in the United States tend to get taught a largely American-centric view of world history. Not to say that is bad or that the same thing doesn’t happen elsewhere, but given our diverse, melting pot populace, one sometimes wishes more of a global perspective could be provided. Enter Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and Australia to give a perspective on global aviation history from Down Under.

I could safely say that the vast majority of Americans have never remotely heard of him, unless they have flown through Sydney’s airport, so aptly named for this engaging and bold Aussie aviator. Yes, we have the Wright Brothers, we have Charles Lindbergh, and we have Amelia Earhart, but Australia has Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, the pilot who with his crew (Co-Pilot, Navigator, and Radio Operator) conquered the Pacific Ocean aboard the Southern Cross barely a year after Lindbergh’s immortal flight in 1927.



One can argue which flight was more impressive. Lindbergh’s aboard the Spirit of St. Louis was certainly monumental, was flown 3,600 miles solo without a radio, and took place earlier. But conquering that vast expanse of turbulent waters of the Pacific Ocean where the tiniest specks of Earth poke out only every so often to provide measured relief presents a greater geographical, spatial, mechanical, structural, psychological, endurance, and navigational challenge over a total distance of 7,187 miles.



All of this is presented in interesting and eloquent fashion in the book entitled Charles Kingsford Smith and Those Magnificent Men by author Peter FitzSimons. The book has joined the pantheon of my favorite non-fiction reads. The reader literally feels they are aboard this flight and many others documented by this enthralling book. I do wish someone would take the time and effort to expertly chronicle this momentous event in a major motion picture. Fellow Aussie Hugh Jackman would be terrific as Sir Charles. This story really needs to be told to a worldwide audience on the big screen.


Southern Cross on display at the Kingsford Smith Memorial in Brisbane – Source:

If you want to learn more about global aviation history, I highly recommend this book, as it details the progression of air flight in its infancy, formative, and through its growth years. It is definitely a book you will find hard to put down and will enjoy reading over and over again. Well done, Sir Charles and Mr. FitzSimons!

Posted in planning, diversity, culture, transportation, art, education, economic development, book reviews, history, entertainment, airports, books, geography, historic preservation, globalization, Oceania, Communications, movies, pictures, product design, Travel, writing, air travel, airport planning, aerospace, aviation, literature, Maps, topography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

America’s smallest MAJOR airports by acreage

John Wayne Airport - Source:

Orange County (John Wayne) Airport – Source:

The following is a list of the 20 smallest major airports in the USA ranked by their total land area. A minimum of 500,000 passenger enplanements was required to be included. As can be seen, some very busy and important airports are identified in the list. Please keep in mind that enplanements are just those flying from the airport – typically, total passengers arriving and departing is roughly double enplanements.

Five of the airports listed are in Southern California (Costa Mesa, Burbank, San Diego, Palm Springs, and Long Beach) and three are situated in the Greater New York City region (La Guardia, White Plains, and Long Island).

San Diego (Lindbergh)- Source:

San Diego (Lindbergh) Airport – Source:

As is evident from the aerial photos included with the post, most of these airports have been surrounded by development, which limits their long-term growth potential and ability to adapt to new aircraft. It also can lead to friction between the airport authority and neighbors due to aircraft noise, traffic, and hours of operation. This can lead to costly litigation, noise abatement, or land acquisition.

New York (La Guardia) Airport - Source the

New York (La Guardia) Airport – Source the

San Jose (Mineta) - Source:

San Jose (Mineta) Airport – Source:

While not every city has oodles of excess land available to construct a new airport (a la Denver or Dallas-Fort Worth), early and proactive regional planning efforts to properly channel and regulate development surrounding the airport in a manner which allows for increased aviation traffic is paramount to the long-term viability of the facility. Granted, in most of the cases listed in this post, hindsight is 20/20. Environmental, aviation, and land use restrictions can and will negatively the potential for future passenger and cargo growth. In some cases this limits the facility to serve only domestic flights, limited-distance flights, or in multiple airport metropolitan regions as a reliever or secondary airport.

  1. Costa Mesa/Orange County (John Wayne), California: 500 acres = 4,584,147 enplanements (2014)
  2. Burbank (Bob Hope), California: 610 acres = 1,928,491 enplanements (2014)
  3. Chicago (Midway), Illinois: 640 acres =10,318,311 enplanements (2014)
  4. San Diego (Lindbergh), California: 661 acres = 9,333,152 enplanements (2013)
  5. New York City (La Guardia), New York: 680 acres = 13,415,797 enplanements (2014)
  6. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: 680 acres = 657,650 enplanements (2013)
  7. White Plains (Westchester County), New York: 702 acres = 770,550 enplanements (2013)
  8. Washington (Reagan National), DC: 733 acres = 10,057,794 enplanements (2014)
  9. Lihue, Hawaii: 879 acres = 1,315,141 enplanements (2013)
  10. Lexington (Blue Grass), Kentucky: 911 acres = 604,091 enplanements (2013)
  11. Palm Springs, California: 940 acres = 876,428 enplanements (2013)
  12. Burlington, Vermont: 942 acres = 640,790 enplanements (2013)
  13. San Jose (Mineta), California: 1,050 acres = 4,621,003 enplanements (2014)
  14. Long Beach, California: 1,166 acres = 1,438,948 enplanements (2013)
  15. Norfolk, Virginia: 1,300 acres = 1,663,294 enplanements (2013)
  16. Dallas (Love Field), Texas: 1310 acres = 3,783,407 enplanements (2013)
  17. Islip/Long Island (MacArthur), New York: 1,311 acres = 662,612 enplanements (2013)
  18. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Florida: 1,380 acres = 11,987,607 enplanements (2014)
  19. Cleveland (Hopkins), Ohio: 1,402 acres = 3,686,315 enplanements (2014)
  20. Manchester, New Hampshire: 1,500 acres = 1,190,082 enplanements (2013)
Midway airport - Source:

Chicago (Midway) Airport – Source:


Posted in aerospace, air travel, airport planning, airports, aviation, business, cities, commerce, Communications, economic development, environment, geography, history, infrastructure, land use, logistics, Maps, pictures, planning, spatial design, topography, tourism, Trade, traffic, transportation, Travel, urban planning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Puddle jumpers – America’s smallest commercial airports

Key West International Airport - Source:

Key West International Airport – Source:

Below is a list of America’s smallest commercial airports (those served by airlines) as measured by by acreage. These are the airports most likely to be served by puddle jumpers, even if they are nowhere near a large water body.

At least part of the reason for their smaller land area, aside for the size of the community itself, has to do with geographical/topographical constraints.  Other times, as a cities grows, the airport gets hemmed in by development (see photos below).

Tweed-Haven Airport - Source:

Tweed-Haven Airport – Source:

The seven smallest airports and nine of the 26 are located on or provide air service to islands/narrow peninsulas (Hilton Head, Friday Harbor, Charlevoix, Molokai, Provincetown, Westerly, Key West, Bar Harbor, and Lanai). Ten of these 26 airports serve cities in mountainous terrain (Harrisonburg, Clarksburg, Pullman, Lewisburg, Boulder City, Jackson Hole, Williamsport, Lebanon, Aspen, and Wenatchee).

Other commonalities found include 16 of these airports serve vacation- oriented communities and 14 serve coastal communities. In addition, five serve college towns (New Haven – Yale, Harrisonburg – James Madison, Pullman – Washington State, Ithaca – Cornell, and Lebanon -Dartmouth).

Hilton Head Airport - Source:

Hilton Head Airport – Source:

At approximately 205,000; 131,000;  and 101,000 residents respectively, Modesto, New Haven, and Erie are easily the three largest individual cities on the list. Orange County is by far the largest government organization.

  • Hilton Head Island, South Carolina: 131 acres
  • Friday Harbor, Washington: 145 acres
  • Charlevoix, Michigan: 185 acres (air service to Beaver Island)
  • Molokai, Hawaii: 288 acres
  • Provincetown, Massachusetts: 310 acres
  • Westerly, Rhode Island: 326 acres (air service to Block Island)
  • Key West, Florida: 334 acres
  • New Haven (Tweed-Haven), Connecticut: 394 acres
  • Harrisonburg, Virginia: 433 acres
  • Clarksburg, West Virginia: 434 acres
  • Modesto, California: 435 acres
  • Erie (Tom Ridge), Pennsylvania: 450 acres
  • Pullman, Washington: 467 acres
  • Bar Harbor, Maine: 468 acres
  • Lewisburg, West Virginia: 472 acres
  • Orange County (John Wayne), California: 500 acres
  • Lanai, Hawaii: 505 acres
  • Boulder City, Nevada: 530 acres
  • Ithaca, New York: 531 acres
  • Jackson Hole, Wyoming: 533 acres
  • Williamsport, Pennsylvania: 535 acres
  • Rockland, Maine: 538 acres
  • Lebanon, New Hampshire: 563 acres
  • Aspen, Colorado: 573 acres
  • Wenatchee, Washington: 585 acres
  • Monterey, California: 597 acres

Sources: and

Posted in aerospace, air travel, airport planning, airports, aviation, cities, commerce, Communications, economic development, geography, history, infrastructure, land use, Maps, planning, spatial design, Statistics, topography, tourism, Trade, transportation, Travel, urban planning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More street connections = less cut-through traffic



The argument that connecting new neighborhoods to existing ones causing cut-through traffic is only true if there are limited street connections in the transportation network in the first place. If a community has a well-planned, interconnected transportation network then more route options become available to drivers and they no longer have a reason to search for or take cut-through routes.

The grid street network pattern (or modifications thereof) offers the most route options to drivers. Each time a part of the grid is de-coupled or disconnected, the number of route options is reduced and traffic is forced through a more congested network.  The more self-contained neighborhoods, cul-de-sacs, loops, dead-end streets, or vacated roadways, the greater the chance for increasing cut-through traffic. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that honors the car instead of the human.

This is why it is imperative for transportation planners and community leaders to take long-term view and not fall prey to NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) concerns about connecting neighborhoods.  Other benefits of an interconnected street network beyond reducing cut-through traffic include:

  • Less congested/concentrated traffic on primary routes as more options are available.
  • More efficient usage of roads instead of concentrating wear and tear on the primary roads.
  • Quicker and more efficient access for emergency services, school buses, garbage pick-up, mail delivery, and snow removal.
  • Shorter trips between neighborhoods, which increase pedestrian and bicycle trips.
  • Lower overall community carbon footprint.
  • Lower energy usage as non-motorized options become more advantageous and drivers do not have to follow circuitous routes to get from one neighborhood to another, even an adjacent one.
  • Improved health and fitness as cars become less necessary for short trips.
  • Reduced urban sprawl.

The best way to start healing a broken, disconnected street network is to stop allowing disconnected residential developments. Reversing past mistakes is harder, but can include buying properties and then adding new street connections. The important thing is to take a long-term view and to not expect overnight healing of a broken transportation network. Eventually, the system’s connectivity will improve and the benefits will become visibly apparent.

Posted in Active transportation, Advocacy, bicycling, Biking, Cars, cities, civics, environment, fitness, geography, health, humanity, infrastructure, land use, Maps, placemaking, planning, spatial design, sprawl, sustainability, traffic, transportation, urban planning, walking, zoning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments