HomeDiagramsDatabaseMapsForum About
     

Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Discussion Forums > Transportation


Reply

 
Thread Tools Display Modes
     
     
  #1  
Old Posted Feb 19, 2021, 10:06 PM
M II A II R II K's Avatar
M II A II R II K M II A II R II K is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Toronto
Posts: 49,832
U.S. Airports No Longer Have to Build Their Own Terrible Trains

U.S. Airports No Longer Have to Build Their Own Terrible Trains


18.2.21

By Aaron Gordon

Read More: https://www.vice.com/en/article/z3v5...-crappy-trains

Quote:
On January 12, a time when most of us were distracted by other events pertaining to the federal government, the Federal Aviation Administration updated some rules that will have huge implications for how travelers access airports via public transportation, and even for public transportation systems as a whole. It is also a correction for one of my pet peeves about U.S. public transportation, that we have spent decades building trains-to-the-trains to the airport. This unique type of U.S. transportation has no commonly-recognized name, and I will soon arbitrarily assign a term for them just to make everything easier.

- They do not have a name because they make no sense and have no good reason to exist. The train itself should just go to the airport, like they do in virtually every other airport with a mass transit connection in the world. These useless trains only exist because of byzantine bureaucratic rule that has condemned U.S. travelers to this crappy extra train for no good reason. And it's finally, finally, finally fixed. — To fully understand what's going on here, let's back up and talk about airport transportation. Most large international airports anywhere in the world have some type of "people mover" system, which can be anything from those weird and amazing mobile lounges at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C. to the automated trains more commonly found at airports these days (including also at Dulles). Airports have these when they are very large with terminals very far apart and even those moving walkways you are supposed to walk on and not just stand there for f*ck's sake MOVE are not enough to get people around efficiently.

- Generally speaking, there are two types of airport people movers. The first and most common from a global perspective are those designed to get people between terminals at massive international airports. The second and most common in the U.S. but virtually non-existent elsewhere are those that not only connect terminals but also the airport to rental car hubs and mass transportation. These second types, which I will continue to refer to as people movers for convenience, are frustrating as hell, as it requires travelers to mention airport employees to take a train to the train, an unnecessary and expensive transfer that typically requires a second fare. — In 1990, Congress passed the Aviation Safety and Capacity Expansion Act of 1990 which allowed airports, with the FAA's permission, to charge a small Passenger Facility Fee (PFC) initially a maximum of $3 per ticket, later upped to $4.50 and, like the federal gas tax, not increased in the 20 years since despite losing much of its value to inflation—for airport improvements. The statute allows the revenue to be used for specific types of internal airport improvements only.

- In the United States, getting funding for mass transit projects is hard enough as it is, so PFCs offered airports and the cities they're in a workaround to creating mass transit connections, if not a direct link to city centers. As long as airports built their own, separate rail line that operated mostly inside airport territory or, in theory, built a mass transit expansion with no intermediate stops that terminated at the airport they could use airline ticket surcharges to pay for, at the very least, a good chunk of the project. This is why city governments in particular tend to love these trains to the trains, because it takes most of the funding load off their backs and they get to brag about having a mass transit connection to their airport. — But, as anyone who has ever used a people mover knows, they're an expensive half-measure that doesn't provide a true one-seat ride to the airport. The transfers can be a pain with luggage and add at least ten minutes to each leg of the journey, often more, when factoring in long walks through transfer stations. Plus, if you're traveling with others, the odds are the extra cost of the double fare for multiple people will start to get price competitive with taking a taxi or Uber.

.....



__________________
ASDFGHJK
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2  
Old Posted Feb 19, 2021, 10:56 PM
Busy Bee's Avatar
Busy Bee Busy Bee is online now
Leftist Correctist
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: on the artistic spectrum
Posts: 6,964
^^^

Good read. And good news.
__________________
GOP RIP
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #3  
Old Posted Feb 19, 2021, 11:01 PM
Silewe Silewe is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2021
Posts: 33
Hmm. So in chicago, the blue line would hit up the rental car and parking hubs before the airport?
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #4  
Old Posted Feb 19, 2021, 11:05 PM
Steely Dan's Avatar
Steely Dan Steely Dan is offline
devout Pizzatarian
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Lincoln Square, Chicago
Posts: 23,091
how many US airports have these "train to the train" airport set-ups?

i ask because of the 5 midwest airports that have rail transit access, you can take the city's heavy or light rail transit directly into the airport itself.



ORD - CTA blue line (heavy rail) stops directly at the airport, central to the main terminals 1, 2 & 3 (to get over to the international terminal (T5) you have to transfer to the airport's people mover).

MDW - CTA orange line (heavy rail) stops directly at the airport's terminal.

CLE - RTA red line (heavy rail) stops directly at the airport's terminal (first US city to have direct rail transit access to its airport back in 1968).

MSP - METRO blue line (light rail) stops directly at both terminals 1 and 2.

STL - MetroLink red line (light rail) stops directly at both terminals 1 and 2.



so is this "train to the train" deal more of a coastal city airport issue?
__________________
If a Pizza is baked in a forest, and no one is around to eat it, is it still delicious?
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #5  
Old Posted Feb 19, 2021, 11:18 PM
SIGSEGV's Avatar
SIGSEGV SIGSEGV is offline
He/his/him. >~<, QED!
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Loop, Chicago
Posts: 3,391
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
how many US airports have these "train to the train" airport set-ups?

i ask because of the 5 midwest airports that have rail transit access, you can take the city's heavy or light rail transit directly into the airport itself.



ORD - CTA blue line (heavy rail) stops directly at the airport, central to main terminals 1, 2 & 3. to get over to the international terminal (T5) you have to transfer to the airport's people mover.
Doesn't look like there's room for a blue line platform near the international terminal, sadly.



As for US airports with trains to trains, the ones I'm familiar with are:

SFO
OAK
JFK
EWR
PHX


DFW/DEN/ATL don't count because their people movers are past security.
__________________
And here the air that I breathe isn't dead.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #6  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2021, 12:25 AM
Crawford Crawford is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Brooklyn, NYC/Polanco, DF
Posts: 22,537
Trains to the planes are largely a waste of money. Mobility within airports is important, but cities are always wasting time trying to get businesspeople (who don't ride trains and generally can't even if they wanted to, because they aren't paying, and there is no system on earth that is door-to-door to every hotel like Uber) to ride trains instead of, you know, actually investing in transit that benefits the riding public.

If an airport is on an established commuting corridor, it should definitely have rail service. And obviously there needs to be some kind of public transit from airports to major destinations. But rail lines established for exclusive city center to airport runs are largely wastes.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #7  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2021, 12:44 AM
ardecila's Avatar
ardecila ardecila is offline
TL;DR
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: the city o'wind
Posts: 14,642
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
how many US airports have these "train to the train" airport set-ups?

i ask because of the 5 midwest airports that have rail transit access, you can take the city's heavy or light rail transit directly into the airport itself.
so is this "train to the train" deal more of a coastal city airport issue?
There is a geometry problem that this new rule can't fix. Airport terminals tend to be cul-de-sacs, surrounded by airfield on 3 sides with access from one side only. In the 1970s, most airports were on the edge of cities' developed areas, so terminating a transit line there made sense.

However, sprawl has now extended far beyond airports in must US cities. New rail lines often need to hit the airport on the way to somewhere else. Given the typical layout of airports, the only way to this is
A) build a long tunnel below the airfield or
B) put the "airport" station at some distance from the terminals where further extensions are possible, and use a spur or a shuttle to bring people the last mile into the terminal itself.

The astronomical cost of tunneling in the US means that new rail lines often go for Option B. I'm not sure the new FAA rule will lead to any real change. Tunneling is still expensive even when you're paying for it with PFCs from air travelers...
__________________
la forme d'une ville change plus vite, hélas! que le coeur d'un mortel...
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #8  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2021, 1:52 AM
craigs's Avatar
craigs craigs is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: In COVID-19 exile
Posts: 1,932
Quote:
Originally Posted by SIGSEGV View Post
As for US airports with trains to trains, the ones I'm familiar with are:

SFO
OAK
JFK
EWR
PHX
For those who don't know, BART goes directly into SFO at the International Terminal. Passengers can walk to their gate, or choose to take the automated 'AirTrain' people mover, which has one line that serves only the terminals and another that serves the terminals and also the off-site car rental agencies and the parking lots/garages to the north of the terminals.


source


SFO AirTrain
wikipedia


BART does not go directly into OAK, however. Passengers must transfer to the automated guideway train at Coliseum Station.


source


Oakland Airport Connector
wikipedia
__________________
Absent accountability, unity is impossible.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #9  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2021, 7:22 PM
k1052 k1052 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,888
Quote:
Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
There is a geometry problem that this new rule can't fix. Airport terminals tend to be cul-de-sacs, surrounded by airfield on 3 sides with access from one side only. In the 1970s, most airports were on the edge of cities' developed areas, so terminating a transit line there made sense.

However, sprawl has now extended far beyond airports in must US cities. New rail lines often need to hit the airport on the way to somewhere else. Given the typical layout of airports, the only way to this is
A) build a long tunnel below the airfield or
B) put the "airport" station at some distance from the terminals where further extensions are possible, and use a spur or a shuttle to bring people the last mile into the terminal itself.

The astronomical cost of tunneling in the US means that new rail lines often go for Option B. I'm not sure the new FAA rule will lead to any real change. Tunneling is still expensive even when you're paying for it with PFCs from air travelers...
I largely agree with this but selfishly am happy that this could help pay for part of the rail expansion to AUS. BOS and ORD are also places that might take future advantage.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #10  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2021, 7:26 PM
k1052 k1052 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,888
Quote:
Originally Posted by craigs View Post
For those who don't know, BART goes directly into SFO at the International Terminal. Passengers can walk to their gate, or choose to take the automated 'AirTrain' people mover, which has one line that serves only the terminals and another that serves the terminals and also the off-site car rental agencies and the parking lots/garages to the north of the terminals.
Having ridden BART from SFO more times than I would care to remember I would much rather they just extend the AirTrain to Millbrae. The split terminals makes BART frequency at SFO suck something awful. Also now that Caltrain is electrifying and likely moving to clock face schedules I'd really rather spend a couple extra minutes on the people mover to access faster transit into the city.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #11  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2021, 9:07 PM
OhioGuy OhioGuy is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Oakland, California
Posts: 7,316
This trains-to-train setup is what the NY Governor is pushing for LaGuardia rather than extending the city's subway system directly to the airport.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #12  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2021, 10:19 PM
Busy Bee's Avatar
Busy Bee Busy Bee is online now
Leftist Correctist
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: on the artistic spectrum
Posts: 6,964
^ Yep, instead of an Astoria line subway extension and a subterranean LGA station inside the terminal which is the OBVIOUS solution.
__________________
GOP RIP
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2021, 11:02 PM
ardecila's Avatar
ardecila ardecila is offline
TL;DR
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: the city o'wind
Posts: 14,642
Quote:
Originally Posted by k1052 View Post
I largely agree with this but selfishly am happy that this could help pay for part of the rail expansion to AUS. BOS and ORD are also places that might take future advantage.
AUS is similar to DEN in some respects - due to the weird growth patterns of Austin there isn't much development past the airport, yet.

We'll see if sprawl catches up to this area before the Blue Line gets built - there may be pressure to extend the line further east, or at least to locate the station where future extensions are possible. Granted, there's only one terminal so it *should* be easy to site the station in a decent location.
__________________
la forme d'une ville change plus vite, hélas! que le coeur d'un mortel...
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #14  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2021, 11:49 PM
k1052 k1052 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,888
Quote:
Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
AUS is similar to DEN in some respects - due to the weird growth patterns of Austin there isn't much development past the airport, yet.

We'll see if sprawl catches up to this area before the Blue Line gets built - there may be pressure to extend the line further east, or at least to locate the station where future extensions are possible. Granted, there's only one terminal so it *should* be easy to site the station in a decent location.
I think development south of the river will largely still gravitate to the I-35 corridor until the city effectively merges with Buda for the foreseeable future rather than eastward past the airport.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #15  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2021, 5:19 PM
mthd mthd is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 872
Quote:
Originally Posted by k1052 View Post
Having ridden BART from SFO more times than I would care to remember I would much rather they just extend the AirTrain to Millbrae. The split terminals makes BART frequency at SFO suck something awful. Also now that Caltrain is electrifying and likely moving to clock face schedules I'd really rather spend a couple extra minutes on the people mover to access faster transit into the city.
not sure what you're referring to here, are you talking about taking bart from millbrae to SFO? 98% of bart riders are on the other side of SFO (comparing millbrae station boardings to the system as a whole), and coming from that "direction," BART offers a single seat ride into the international terminal. it's about as direct a connection as a train-to-plane can offer without being literally underneath the security checkpoints.

of course, if all the bay area counties had been part of BART in the first place, the situation for the peninsula and valley would likely be much different.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #16  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2021, 5:55 PM
k1052 k1052 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,888
Quote:
Originally Posted by mthd View Post
not sure what you're referring to here, are you talking about taking bart from millbrae to SFO? 98% of bart riders are on the other side of SFO (comparing millbrae station boardings to the system as a whole), and coming from that "direction," BART offers a single seat ride into the international terminal. it's about as direct a connection as a train-to-plane can offer without being literally underneath the security checkpoints.

of course, if all the bay area counties had been part of BART in the first place, the situation for the peninsula and valley would likely be much different.
I was referring to the terrible schedule that results in long waits at the SFO BART station after you have already been on the AirTrain to reach it. Effectively splitting the BART terminals with a wye is kind of crippling to service frequency and there isn't much that can be done about it. I'd shutter the SFO station and extend AirTrain to Millbrae at this point.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #17  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2021, 6:21 PM
PhillyRising's Avatar
PhillyRising PhillyRising is offline
America's Hometown
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Lionville, PA
Posts: 11,572
SEPTA has an airport line to PHL. I taken it several times and not always for going to the airport. I used to work by the airport and when it snowed I took the train all the way to the airport than hopped a bus for the last mile of my journey. I never went into the airport.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #18  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2021, 3:17 AM
mthd mthd is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 872
Quote:
Originally Posted by k1052 View Post
I was referring to the terrible schedule that results in long waits at the SFO BART station after you have already been on the AirTrain to reach it. Effectively splitting the BART terminals with a wye is kind of crippling to service frequency and there isn't much that can be done about it. I'd shutter the SFO station and extend AirTrain to Millbrae at this point.
i've taken BART from SFO hundreds of times. i've never stepped foot on the airtrain or the millbrae BART station on one of these trips, and i'd guess that the average wait, pre-pandemic, was 7 or 8 minutes, which is hardly unreasonable for a one seat ride from an airport to downtown, is it?

you can also look at the real time departures (although the way it's reported is funky, but you can in fact tell exactly when the train is leaving) which tells you when you land whether hurrying through the terminal/s will save you 15 minutes or not.

more frequency would be great, of course. but the suggestion that people should ride the airtrain to millbrae (the wrong direction for the vast vast majority of passengers) and then transfer to BART there? no.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #19  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2021, 6:47 AM
craigs's Avatar
craigs craigs is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: In COVID-19 exile
Posts: 1,932
Quote:
Originally Posted by mthd View Post
more frequency would be great, of course. but the suggestion that people should ride the airtrain to millbrae (the wrong direction for the vast vast majority of passengers) and then transfer to BART there? no.
Yeah, shuttering SFO station and having everyone transfer from AirTrain at Millbrae makes zero sense to me. It's the wrong direction for like 95% of riders, and would make everyone a captive of the people mover--you'd never have the option of simply walking to your gate from BART. That is unacceptable.
__________________
Absent accountability, unity is impossible.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #20  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2021, 7:27 AM
electricron's Avatar
electricron electricron is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Granbury, Texas
Posts: 3,202
Lightbulb

DFW has light rail to within a block of Terminal A, and commuter rail to within a block of Terminal B, both on the Land side. But all the terminals are interconnected on the Air side with an autonomous people mover. There are 5 terminals today, and pre-covid they were planning a 6th terminal. Sending both light rail and commuter rail lines to all the terminals Land side will be an engineering nightmare considering the people mover already connecting all the terminals Air sides. Having one train system circulation should be enough, imagine the nightmare having three trains systems doing so. Worse yet, there is talk of adding a HSR, a fourth train system, to DFW. Even a worse nightmare if you expect it to go to every terminal.
Reply With Quote
     
     
This discussion thread continues

Use the page links to the lower-right to go to the next page for additional posts
 
 
Reply

Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Discussion Forums > Transportation
Forum Jump


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 1:18 AM.

     

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.