[PDF] ACRP REPORT 4. Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation AIRPORT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM

Service Attributes of Proposed Projects In four cities around the world, major capital investments to improve rail services to major airports are being considered. In the case of Berlin, the decision was made in connection with the decision to focus all airport activity on one new regional airport, phasing out older closer-in facilities. In the other three cities—Paris, Chicago, and New York, planning is underway to provide high-quality service that is dedicated to the needs of the air traveler. In addition, there have been plans for several years to build a maglev train between Munich Airport and the downtown Main rail station (Figure 3-4); the political future of that project is not clear after a tragic accident on the maglev test facility in Northern Germany. It is important to note that in each of these four examples, local decision makers are considering dedicated, premium service concepts at this time. The actual form of the two U.S. projects, however, is still under active debate.

Berlin Brandenburg Airport In 1999, German Railways announced its decision to develop a dedicated train to operate express service to the new Berlin Brandenburg International Airport, which will consolidate and replace the existing airports in Berlin. An S-Bahn suburban rail line already serves the site for the new airport, currently known as Schonefeld Airport, with a 25-minute service to downtown. The S-Bahn division of German Railways will develop a new dedicated express line that will connect with Berlin’s new central rail station, called “Berlin-Lehrter Bahnhof,” with only two intermediate stations. The specially designed trains will be capable of 100 mph service and will reduce the running time to downtown to 18 minutes.

Attributes of Successful Ground Access Systems

PHOTO: M. A. Coogan.

Figure 3-4. The future of the proposed Maglev from Munich Airport (shown here in a demonstration mock up at Terminal Two) is unclear.

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport For years, the access strategy between Charles de Gaulle airport and downtown Paris has been based on the use of standard regional rail services, which are shared with commuters. No specialized service to the downtown was planned. Over the past decade, the French National Railways (SNCF) and Aéroports de Paris (ADP) worked to develop a new dedicated high-speed service to the Gare de l’Est. Responsibility for leading the planning for the new service has recently shifted entirely to the national railway system. Thus, the French authorities are planning for Charles de Gaulle airport to have two services available at two separate price points: a shared commuter service along the RER-B with distribution services through downtown Paris and the suburbs to the south, and a second, non-stop dedicated train service to a terminal at Gare de l’Est, where a transfer to taxi or other mode would be needed to continue the onward journey. In one routing option, an expensive new tunnel was proposed between the airport and the city; more recently the rail authorities are examining more efficient use of the existing rail right-ofway currently used by the RER trains. At present, no downtown baggage check-in services are planned for the new dedicated rail service. While funding commitment for the project has been lacking, the ADP website reports that the French government is now committed to the project.

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