The Potential Societal Barriers of Urban Air Mobility


Community perceptions of users and non-users could present challenges to adoption and mainstreaming of urban air mobility (UAM). A few potential concerns include noise and visual pollution; privacy (particularly for flights over sensitive land uses); social equity; and safety and security. This exploratory study reports the findings of two focus groups in Los Angeles and Washington D.C., and a five-city general population survey consisting of 1,700 respondents in Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. (approximately 350 respondents per city). The focus groups and survey asked questions about perceptions of UAM from the user and non-user perspectives; willingness to use UAM, pay and share flight in a small aircraft with other passengers, and fly in various weather conditions; trust in aircraft automation and electrification; and other social and environmental concerns. The study concludes that familiarity with UAM is a notable factor influencing public perception and willingness to fly, suggesting that education and outreach will play an important role in the growth of UAM.

Susan Shaheen, PhD, Adam Cohen, Emily Farrar
Publication date: 
November 21, 2018
Publication type: 
Shaheen, S., Cohen, A., & Farrar, E. (2018). The Potential Societal Barriers of Urban Air Mobility (UAM). National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)