(Air)ports are transforming into (imaginary) cities where everything keeps moving. Passenger flows have become the focus in the design of new terminals and ground transportation facilities.

Planners and architects are faced with accommodating rising passenger numbers, often in combination with restrictions in space (existing infrastructures) and land use (pollution and noise regulations). Whether a large hub primary airport or non-hub primary or reliever airport, space to accommodate new developments is often at a considerable distance introducing the need for efficient transit to (the main body of) the (commercial service) airport.In addition to efficiently accommodating passenger flows, new airside developments (such as new terminals) also have to focus on increasing safety and security and reducing aircraft taxi and passenger handling time. Landside developments (such as parking facilities, car rental centers, hotels and airport-oriented-business and industrial parks) can also be located outside the airport perimeter. Independent of the location an efficient link with the airport is required to facilitate transportation and the (economic) activities.

Accessibility is becoming a competitive factor to persuade air travelers to select a certain airport. Airports and (local) governments will both need to improve accommodation of cars and implement (competitive) high occupancy alternatives such as people movers (that decrease the reliance on cars and provide travelers with a genuine alternative). Hence, when rail- and metro stations can not be integrated into the airport, efficient transit to adjacently located transportation hubs will need to be created. Accessibility is vital to support the continuing growth in demand for air travel.

Additional considerations to implement a landside Automated People Mover system could be the facility and terminal spacing, the roadway capacity, airport land use, its’ competitive position and political considerations.

Airport planners no longer question the necessity and proven benefits of people movers, but have a pressing need for affordable alternatives to the generally heavy, more traditional (rail-guided) systems being offered today. The reduced infrastructure of electronically guided people movers, ensures they are an attractive alternative.

Personal Rapid Transit (PRT)

At (air)ports there are several passenger flows for which the individual nature and network typology of a PRT system are very well suited. Typically PRT applications will be located at large or medium hub primary airports.

As a local transit system 2getthere’s CyberCab PRT system can interconnect prime locations and facilities (such as car parks, hotels and offices) to the arrival and departure terminals. An efficient (loop) network typology ensures short, direct connections optimizing service to airline passengers. Integration of the network in the existing spatial planning is accommodated by the small footprint requirement of the system.

The PRT system is also well suited as a connection between (long term) parking and the terminal(s) as travelers tend to arrive at the parking individually or in small groups. Larger, group oriented passenger flows can also be accommodated by the PRT system, but especially when sharing the same destination a Group Rapid Transit system could be an alternative.

PRT connecting terminal to planes; courtesy of PRT Consulting, Inc and T.Y. Lin International.

Group Rapid Transit (GRT)

To accommodate the large and (ever) growing passenger flows, many primary airports feature (Automated) People Mover Systems as links between facilities and as feeder systems to more remotely located services – such as car rental centers and public transit nodes.

Other airports (modestly sized primary and reliever airports) typically feature smaller passenger flows which are not efficiently accomodated by large and heavy (rail guided) automated systems. The ParkShuttle Group Rapid Transit system is an effective alternative for modestly sized airports – provinding an intermediate transit capacity at low cost (because of a very simple infrastructure).

The ParkShuttle Group Rapid Transit system can be implemented as inter terminal transit or serve as a feeder system to a car rental centre, staff parking facilities and remote parking. In comparison to a line-haul (mass transit) system it will offer shorter waiting times (higher frequencies) and shorter total travelling times. Typically the system will be operational on schedule. However, it is possible to operate the system on demand in off-peak hours – thus optimizing passenger service.

At large airports the characteristics of the ParkShuttle system ensure the system is suitable for specific (medium to low capacity) passenger flows – e.g. replacing the current manual buses to car rental facilities, reducing waiting time and thus optimizing the service to airline passengers.

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