How safe are joint use taxiways?

Making roads and taxiways accessible for both planes and road vehicles is a question that frequently comes up. Is it safe? is obviously the most common question. Will it work on airparks of all sizes? What kind of planes operate out of airparks with joint use of roads and taxiways?

Recently we asked these questions and others of residential airpark residents. A total of 54 persons responded to the survey and they represented airparks in 22 states.

Since safety is the primary concern to everyone in aviation we can report that 79.6% of all those responding said “there have been no mishaps on our joint use taxiways.”

Another 22.5 percent of the respondents indicated “we’ve had less than 5 mishaps in the last 10 years.”

This is pretty much what we have heard from residents of airparks as well as those who have looked into the issue on an individual basis but this is the first direct response to the specific questions that we’ve received directly.

Of course, if a residential airpark has two homes and only one J-3 is operating there, the results could possibly be considerably different from an airpark with many homes and based airplanes of a variety of sizes so we asked questions relating to the size of the airpark, number of based planes, type of operation and a few other things.

Right off the top we are happy to relate that the accident results are the total for all respondents from airparks of all sizes operating aircraft of all types.

Here are the survey questions and their answers:

How many homes are presently on your airpark ?

  • Under 10 – 41.2%
  • 11-20 – 11.8%
  • 21-35 – 13.7%
  • 36-50 – 7.8%
  • Over 50 – 25.5%

How many airplanes are based at your airpark?

  • Under 10 – 28.9%
  • 11-20 – 23.1%
  • 21-35 – 15.4%
  • 36-50 – 13.5%
  • Over 50 – 19.2%

What airplane types operate at the airpark?

  • Singles – 100%
  • Twins – 61.5%
  • Helicopters – 36.5%
  • Ultralights – 30.8%
  • Corporate – 7.7%
  • Jets – 5.8%

Is your runway lighted?

  • Yes – 71.7%
  • No – 28.3%

What is the status of the airpark?

  • Privately owned and private use only – 69.8%
  • Public use airport with residential airpark – 22.6%
  • Commercial operations on airport plus residential airpark – 7.6%

Interesting statistics but the main statement behind them is that residential airparks in general are safe places and those with joint use of taxiways for planes and cars are also extremely safe.