Tampa International Airport “People Mover” Project Recognized

The American Council of Engineering Companies awarded the project team for the airport facility’s SkyConnect Automated People Mover and a rental car center.

The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) recently recognized Tampa International Airport’s (TPA) SkyConnect Automated People Mover and Consolidated Rental Car Center with a National Honor Award in the transportation category during its 2019 Engineering Excellence Awards. The ACEC Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) competition recognizes engineering and land surveying firms for projects that demonstrate an exceptional degree of innovation, complexity, achievement, and value. Awards were presented to the clients/owners and winning firms earlier this month.

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The project team completed a 2.44 million SF Consolidated Rental Car Center (ConRAC) and 1.4 miles of Automated People Mover (APM) infrastructure (SkyConnect).

“The SkyConnect and Rental Car Center are critical elements of our historic expansion and have helped us serve a growing number of passengers while allowing us to remain in our existing footprint and provide the same high level of passenger experience,” said Al Illustrato, TPA’s executive vice president of facilities. “By moving our rental car operations a short train ride away, we have helped decongest our roadways, reduce emissions and accommodate millions more passengers annually.”

(TPA is introducing several new amenities to its facilities, including water bottle filling stations and pet restrooms. Click here to see the rest of the list.)

With growing passenger volume, the curbsides and roads at this airport facility had become increasingly congested and the on-site rental facilities were near operational capacity. To improve operations, in October 2017 the project team completed a 2.44 million-square-foot Consolidated Rental Car Center (ConRAC) and 1.4 miles of Automated People Mover (APM) infrastructure including three stations and a maintenance facility. Known as SkyConnect, the APM provides fast, safe, and sustainable transportation for passengers traveling between the main terminal, the ConRAC, and the economy parking structures.

International engineering firm Walter P Moore served as the lead structural engineer and the engineer-of-record of the Guideway and Main Station. Said Senior Principal and structural engineer Richard Temple, “Our challenge was to develop efficient structural solutions in light of existing and future airport infrastructure while minimizing interruptions to on-going operations. Our engineers used parametric modeling and BIM to study, lay out, design, and share their proposed solutions with the rest of the design and construction team.”

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Photo: Tampa International Airport

The project safely eliminates buses shuttling between the main terminal and economy garages at the airport facility and removes nearly three million annual vehicle trips from TPA’s roads, reducing annual carbon emissions by approximately 1,600 tons each year.

Since its renovation, the $730 million APM/ConRAC project has made a major impact on the airport and surrounding community. The expansion ensures that the airport will continue to deliver great customer service by reducing the time needed to move about the airport while increasing safety. With its modernization, Tampa International Airport will remain one of the top airports in the country for years to come.

Additional project team members included Gresham Smith, who served as the architect-of-record and structural engineer-of-record for the Maintenance Building; Master Consulting Engineers, who served as the structural engineer-of-record of Station 2 and 3; and Austin Commercial, who served as the main contractor.