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CANADA: The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) and Metrolinx have announced that they will be working together to study potential connections for the Kitchener rail corridor to Toronto Pearson’s Regional Transit and Passenger Centre, in addition to other potential transit connections such as the Eglinton Crosstown West Light Rail Transit (LRT). This advancement of work to better integrate transit projects into Canada’s busiest airport will help connect the country’s second largest employment zone and reduce highway congestion.

This partnership follows Premier Kathleen Wynne's recent announcement that the Province is advancing High Speed Rail and Metrolinx is moving ahead with an Environmental Assessment for next steps for a separation of freight and passenger lines in the Northwest Greater Toronto Area (GTA). This is a major development, as that separation will allow for both frequent GO Train service as well as High Speed Rail between Waterloo Region and the GTA. As part of the Environmental Assessment phase, Ontario is working with the GTAA to explore options to connect two-way, all-day service on the Kitchener GO line to the planned Regional Transit and Passenger Centre, a multi-modal transportation hub and passenger facility to be located at Toronto Pearson.

The GTAA-Metrolinx partnership will study:

  • A potential connection of the Kitchener rail corridor to Toronto Pearson’s planned Regional Transit and Passenger Centre;
  • Potential connections from Eglinton Crosstown West LRT, Finch LRT, Mississauga’s Bus Rapid Transit, and various local and regional bus services into Toronto Pearson;
  • Improvements to ground transportation to/from the airport and the airport employment area; and
  • Phasing considerations related to the above.

“Toronto Pearson is Canada’s gateway to the world and a key driver of jobs, trade and tourism,” said Howard Eng, President and CEO of the GTAA. “The GTAA is committed to working with Metrolinx to improve transit. These studies will help to connect our region for the benefit of passengers, airport workers, local businesses and residents.”

“We are excited to be moving ahead with our partners to explore all options available. By strengthening connections among communities along the innovation corridor between Kitchener-Waterloo, Pearson Airport and Toronto, we will work to deliver faster, more frequent service for our customers” said Phil Verster, President and CEO of Metrolinx.

In 2017, the GTAA announced plans for a future transit and passenger centre at Toronto Pearson. There is an identified need to better connect the region and to serve the 49,000 workers who are based at Toronto Pearson and the 300,000 people who work in the airport employment zone, the second highest concentration of jobs in Canada.

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VW Autonomous Parking

GERMANY: The Volkswagen Group is testing autonomous parking at Hamburg Airport using Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche vehicles. The Group says that the technology will be available to order from 2020.

During the tests vehicles need to navigate their way to a parking space using simple pictorial markers installed in the multi-storey car park.

Johann Jungwirth, Chief Digital Officer of the Volkswagen Group, says: “Autonomous parking can make an important contribution to creating convenient, stress-free mobility for our customers. We therefore want to democratise the technology and make it accessible to as many people as possible.”

According to the Group, the autonomous parking function will be rolled out in two stages, in the first stage the vehicles will use exclusive traffic flow in separate areas of the car park not accessible to people. The next stage will be operation in mixed traffic where vehicles will park and move autonomously in the same areas of the car park as cars with drivers.

Three brands from the Volkswagen Group, City of Hamburg and Hamburg Airport are cooperating on the autonomous parking trials.

“Our clear objective is autonomously driving vehicles that facilitate mobility for everyone at the push of a button and that gives people back time and quality of life as well as greatly improving safety on the roads. Autonomous parking is a milestone on the way there,” Johann Jungwirth said.

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REM Montreal

CANADA: CDPQ Infra has started construction of the Réseau Express Métropolitain (REM) line, connecting Montreal Trudeau Airport with the city centre.

“Today, we have reached an important destination. With this groundbreaking, thousands of people will soon be on site to build one of the world’s largest automated transportation systems right here. With $4 billion in Québec content and the creation of 34,000 jobs during construction, the REM will generate significant economic benefits for the economies of Greater Montréal and Québec,” said Michael Sabia, President and Chief Executive Officer of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

In the last few weeks, the two selected consortia, NouvLR and Partenaires pour la mobilité des Montréalais (PMM), successfully aligned their respective proposals and schedules in order to start building the largest public transportation project in Greater Montréal in the last fifty years. Final construction costs of $6.3 billion have once again been confirmed. The operations and maintenance costs also confirmed the $0.72/passenger-km that will be billed to the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain.

“With our partners, NouvLR and PMM, we have achieved our objective of delivering the best project at the best price for our clients, the millions of Quebecers counting on us for their retirement, and the citizens of Greater Montréal, who will benefit from a brand-new 67-km, 26-station public transportation network that will make travelling easier,” said Macky Tall, President and Chief Executive Officer of CDPQ Infra.

The consolidated work schedule for the upcoming months will be released in the coming weeks in collaboration with Mobilité Montréal.

“The REM is a major project and we have a lot of work ahead of us. We will continue our ongoing dialogue with all stakeholders during construction to ensure that the REM integrates harmoniously in the various communities. The creation of a project management office to plan the work and coordinate with the partners, as well as the creation of a community relations office to communicate directly with citizens, attest to our commitment to listen and continuously improve our project,” continued Tall.

Preparatory work has already begun, and construction activities will ramp up in the coming weeks. After a testing period at the end of 2020, the first branch of the REM will be operational in summer 2021.

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USA: The Los Angeles City Council has unanimously voted to approve a 30-year $4.9B contract with LAX Integrated Express Solutions (LINXS) to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Automated People Mover (APM) train system at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

“Making LAX the most passenger-friendly airport in the world means giving travellers what they need and have been asking for — reliable, convenient transportation to and from the terminals,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “This historic investment will ensure that LAX is seamlessly connected with communities across the region.” 

The APM is the centrepiece of the Landside Access Modernization Program (LAMP), which also includes a Consolidated Rent-a-Car (ConRAC) facility, Intermodal Transportation Facility-West, and associated roadway improvements. The APM will reduce vehicle congestion in the terminal loop, provide a connection with L.A. Metro's regional transportation system, create new and convenient locations for passenger pick-up and drop-off outside of the terminal loop, reduce emissions, and provide reliable access to the terminals. 

The Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) Board of Airport Commissioners (BOAC) approved the contract at its April 5 meeting.

LINXS is comprised of Fluor, Balfour Beatty, ACS Infrastructure Development, Dragados USA, HOCHTIEF PPP Solutions, Flatiron, HDR and HNTB. Bombardier Transportation will provide the APM Operating System, including all vehicles. 

APM trains will arrive every two minutes, have wide doors for easy access with luggage, large windows for viewing, plenty of hand holds and seats for those in need. Station platforms are open air, light-filled and have escalators, elevators, and moving walkways for quick, convenient access to the terminals. Architectural features include a viewing platform of the iconic Theme Building, an Experience LA centre with an 800 sq./ft. LED programmable screen and an LED light band that accents the 2.25 mile guideway. LAWA anticipates that the APM will offer a maximum ridership capacity of 10,000 passengers per hour and up to 87.7 million passengers per year. The system will be operational in 2023. 

LINXS' proposal had the highest technical score and the lowest cost proposal of the three teams that participated in the procurement process. The contract includes milestone payments for the design and construction phases, as well as authorizes future payments for operating and maintaining the APM for the contract period. 

The APM will be built using a Public-Private Partnership (P3) contracting model. LINXS will be designing and constructing the system and will also be responsible for operating and maintaining the train and stations for a 30-year period. This incentivizes the construction and operating systems to be built to last. 

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AUSTRALIA: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has pledged $5 billion investment through a Commonwealth fund to build the Melbourne Airport Rail Link, connecting the CBD and the airport.

The investment will also help reduce the strain on the Tullamarine Freeway which is one of the busiest roads in Victoria, catering to up to 210,000 vehicles a day.

There are several proposed routes which involve above-ground, underground and combined solutions.

"We expect that the results of the business case process, which we initiated at the 2017-18 Budget, will soon provide a clearer picture on the best route, best mode of transport and cost of the project.
We are under no illusion that such a city-shaping project does not come cheap. That is why we are making such a significant commitment," Turnbull said.

"We want the Victorian Government to partner with us in a true 50:50 funding partnership to build and own this iconic piece of infrastructure. We also welcome the involvement of the private sector.
Melbourne is the nation’s second busiest airport with forecasts indicating a throughput of 60 million passengers by 2030."

  • Sydney and Brisbane airports are connected to the city by rail and in Perth, an airport rail link is under construction. According to the Prime Minister, a rail connection to Melbourne Airport will not only benefit airport users and employees, it also has the potential to provide significant additional benefits, depending upon the final route and design chosen, including;
  • Rail access to areas to the north and west of the airport, potentially allowing them to be opened
    up for housing release;
  • Improved connectivity to regional Victoria, particularly to the north and west of Melbourne;
  • New rail stations located between Melbourne and the airport; and 
  • Freeing up the Tullamarine and Calder freeways, presently used by airport traffic.

“It’s very welcome to see the Commonwealth and Victorian governments partnering on major new projects in the State,” said Infrastructure Partnerships Australia Chief Executive Officer Adrian Dwyer.

“Major rail projects like the connection to Melbourne Airport cannot be paid for by ticket charges alone, so the key detail will be how much hard dollar funding is allocated in May’s Federal Budget. The rail link will provide Victorians with some degree of certainty that their trip between the Airport and CBD will be 30 minutes, with a train every 10 minutes, taking pressure off the CityLink/Tulla corridor."

With this new investment, the Commonwealth now has $17.5 billion committed to transport infrastructure projects in Victoria - including the $3 billion put aside for the East West Link.

Melbourne Airport Rail Link Route Alignments