Wave Staff and Wire Reports
LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles International Airport introduced its first Automated People Mover train car Aug. 2, marking a step toward the future of how people will be able to travel to and from the airport.
The driverless train system is the centerpeice of LAX’s Landside Access Modernization Program, featuring six stations that include connections to the region’s light rail system. The goal is to reduce the number of vehicles traveling into the airport’s Central Terminal Area.
“The Automated People Mover will be so much more than another way to get to LAX — it’s the piece of the puzzle that will curb the congestion that has been plaguing our airport for decades,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “As we welcome the first car that will whisk travelers to renovated terminals, parking structures, rail, and a new rental car facility, it’s clear that a completely reimagined LAX is on the horizon.”
The system is expected to be operational next year.
Local officials, including Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, gathered at the airport’s Maintenance and Storage Facility for the celebratory event.
“I am excited and proud to see the first train cars delivered for LAX’s Automated People Mover,” Waters said. “Construction has been moving at a fast pace and when complete will enable airline passengers to reach their terminals from anywhere near a light rail line at a fraction of the current cost and without contributing to local traffic and vehicle emissions.”
In a statement, Los Angeles Councilman Mike Bonin said the arrival of the first people mover train cars marks a “new era in modernizing transportation” in Los Angeles.
“Through innovation and a major investment in our future, LAX is setting a high bar with this transformational train system that will improve access and connectivity for travelers while reducing congestion and our carbon footprint,” Bonin said.
The first train car traveled from the Alstom factory in Pittsburgh, arriving at LAX in June, with three more following. They will be among 44 train cars coming to the airport.
During peak hours, trains are expected to arrive at stations every two minutes, and take 10 minutes to go end-to-end. Each train car features 12 seats with large windows, ample hand holds and easy access to luggage, according to officials.
“Innovation, sustainability and state-of-the-art technology are integral to our ongoing modernization,” said Justin Erbacci, chief executive officer of Los Angeles World Airways, the city agency that operates the airport. “These Automated People Mover train cars will set a high standard for environmentally sustainable transportation, having shells made of recyclable materials and achieving zero emissions. We look forward to seeing the cars in action when we begin testing them in 2023.”
The 2.25-mile electric train system will transport travelers in and out of the airport’s Central Terminal Area. It will feature six stations: three inside the Central Terminal Area, which connect to the terminals via elevated pedestrian walkways, and three stations outside the the terminal area, which will connect to new off-site parking facilities, including LAX Economy Parking, regional light rail transportation and a Consolidated Rent-A-Car facility.
The people mover project is a critical investment into the infrastructure of Los Angeles as the city prepares to welcome the world to the 2026 World Cup and 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games.