Imagine arriving at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) sans the frustration of gridlock to simply reach your terminal. Such a dream is slated to become reality with the opening of the Automated People Mover (APM) in 2023.
Just days into the new decade, construction workers piped in the first concrete for the 83,000-square-foot Maintenance and Storage Facility (MSF) facility, which will serve as the control center for the 2.25-mile elevated electric train system. Comprised of four Bombardier train cars that will stop at six stations to transport travelers in and out of the LAX central terminal area every two minutes during peak hours (for an end-to-end 10-minute ride), the APM is the centerpiece of Los Angeles World Airports’ $5.5 billion Landside Access Modernization Program (LAMP).
“It’s going to completely transform this airport and how people access it,” LAX’s Director of Communications for LAMP Stephanie Sampson told the Courier. “The whole point is high frequency and high capacity, really getting people in and out.”
Sampson said the expectation was that the people mover would initially transport roughly 30 million of the 87.5 million passengers who fly into and out of LAX annually.
“It’s more of getting people to change their transportation patterns and getting them to use the train,” she said, noting that the people mover could transport 10,000 people per hour.
The APM will feature three stations within LAX which connect to the terminals via elevated pedestrian walkways, and three stations outside the central terminal area. The stations outside the terminal will connect a new off-site parking facility for 4,300 cars, Metro’s new 96th Street/Aviation Blvd. transit station (which will connect to both the LAX/Crenshaw and Green Lines), and a Consolidated Rent-A-Car Facility (ConRAC), all three of which are slated to open in 2023.
The developer on the project, LAX Integrated Express Solutions (LINXS), began demolition at the site in May 2019 followed by rough grading and utility work. LINXS’s $4.9 billion 30-year contract which tasks the developer with building and maintaining the APM as well as turning it over as a “new” system is the largest contract “ever awarded” in the history of the City of Los Angeles, Sampson said. The MSF is slated to be complete in 2021 in anticipation of the first APM train deliveries.
In keeping with the sustainability goals for the project, LINXS is seeking Envision Certification for the system as a whole. Sampson said the MSF will be built to LEED Gold standards and will incorporate several sustainable design elements, including a solar photovoltaic generation system capable of generating up to one megawatt of energy, which equates to the energy capable of powering 190 homes at any given time.
“Our team has been hard at work to bring an Automated People Mover to LAX that is befitting of a world-class airport, and sustainability is integral to that commitment,” said Sharon Gookin, Project Director at LINXS. “Starting with concept and carrying through design and construction, the project has incorporated innovative and forward-thinking solutions that address some of the area’s most pressing issues, including the urgent need to remain mindful of the long-term environmental impact of our built environment.”
Scheduled to open for passenger service in 2023, the APM is expected to relieve congestion at LAX term and in turn the surrounding thoroughfares, thereby reducing emissions and vehicle miles traveled.