Cell Phone Waiting Lanes at Airports

Mae : Wireless Mobility Blog
| News and views on everything wireless and mobile, from WiFi and WiMAX to 3G and fixed-mobile convergence (FMC).

Cell Phone Waiting Lanes at Airports

The use of cell phones has changed society yet again. This time, the change took place at Detroit Metro Airport, where officials noticed that the pickup/dropoff lane for the L.C. Smith Terminal was getting crowded when vehicles idled at the curb waiting for passengers who were still in the airport somewhere.

To reduce the congestion, the airport created a “cell phone waiting lane” where cars can wait while the driver calls the person being picked up, arranges the exact pickup time, and then pulls up to the regular pickup/dropoff lane once the person is actually there and ready to hop into the vehicle.

Here’s a diagram of Detroit Metro’s new cell phone waiting lane (marked by blue arrow).

In an Oakland Press article today, reporter Hank Schaller said that idea behind the cell phone waiting lane is pretty simple: “to reduce congestion caused by vehicles circling repeatedly when the arriving party is later than expected.”

The lane, which can hold as many as 30 vehicles, is located in an area that airport officials say doesn’t pose any security concerns, but drivers still must remain with their vehicles or risk ticketing/towing, Schaller said.

Toledo Blade reporter David Patch noted in an article today that Detroit Metro is not the first airport to create a cell phone waiting lane.

“The establishment of cell-phone waiting areas is a growing trend among airports, especially large ones where curb-front congestion can be a major problem,” Patch said in his article.

Other airports with similar lanes include Midway and O’Hare International in Chicago, Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, George Bush Intercontinental in Houston, Philadelphia International Airport, and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.