ATRA Workshop: Maximizing Airport Landside Value, March 22, 2010

(early bird reduced registration closes January 10, 2012 :

Life in the 21st century is global. International trade and cultural life are the rule, not the exception. Over half the world’s population is non-rural, living in cities which are typically extensive urban regions. Their citizenry no longer confine personal and professional circles to one metropolitan area. Email and social networking transcend geographic proximity. Air travel is part of monthly, even weekly rhythms. Modern airports are a nexus of business and cultural life.

In the second half of the 20th century airports matured from runways with buildings that briefly held waiting and arriving air passengers into sprawling hubs with concentrations of ground transport, retail, cargo and business encounters. Automated People Movers (APMs) helped interconnect these many facilities, at first interconnecting multiple terminals. Tampa revolutionized airport planning in the late 1960s. Seattle and Atlanta quickly followed, generating a stream of projects which today number over forty. Airport APMs are as routine as elevators and escalators.

New Growth around Airports

Two recent APM openings at Atlanta and Miami illustrate a new kind of APM role: linking the terminal complex to landside commercial development and regional transit at arm’s length from the traffic swirl of airport roadways. Landside development is the next round of airport expansion – in which the direct service of advanced APM networks offers advantages over conventional APMs with online stations. Avis (or Sheraton) no longer needs to worry about being at the second stop. Multiple destinations can each have non-stop service to and from the airport.

Indeed, designers of Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) networks have a degree of freedom unknown to those who struggle to find the best linear route for conventional APMs. Destinations have no need to line up. Sites available and advantageous for landside development can easily be reached with the addition of a single-lane loop. Lands formerly reserved as noise buffers can be made accessible without new pavement and polluting traffic, without tracts of parking that create new runoff. Landside development can be environmentally friendly.

Airport officials have long focused on the airside – runways, landings and safety. Adjacent communities and real estate investors eye landside opportunities. Overcoming the barriers that make cooperation and collaboration between these two groups can unleash wealth-creating forces appropriate to the decades that lie ahead. PRT networks can help catalyze this next wave of airport expansion in ways similar to the role of APMs last century.

Exploring New Opportunities

The Advanced Transit Association (ATRA) has organized a high-level professional program to explore these possibilities. News and insights from the PRT shuttle now operating at London’s Heathrow will be heard. Sweden’s planning sophistication being applied at Stockholm’s Arlanda with involvement by surrounding municipalities will be described. Learn more about these and recent experience at Atlanta Hartsfıeld, Dallas-Fort Worth and Baltimore-Washington International.

ATRA’s Maximizing Airport Landside Value workshop is an unique way to come up to speed with airport landside planners and developers. Join them and see the future! Space is limited. Early-bird rates expire January 10. Learn more and register now at