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Qixxit app

GERMANY: A new digital travel planner app Qixxit was launched, combining several different means of transportation into one trip. Long distance bus, train and air travel can now be compared in one single search query and then combined to create one connected journey.

According to Qixxit, layovers and check-in times are fully considered in the combined journey plan.

The travel platform app can now be downloaded from the iOS and Android stores and can also be accessed at www.qixxit.com.

“We’ve been continuing to work on the development of the app over the past few months, and our main focus has been on the needs of travellers. We’ve integrated the results of our various user tests, as well as feedback from beta users, into the software development and platform design. We’re truly indebted to everyone who’s supported us throughout this crucial phase,” says Stefan Kellner, CEO at Qixxit.

Qixxit’s travel planning includes access to train connections with Deutsche Bahn and other railway companies. This includes FlixTrain, as well as German and European FlixBus connections. Air travel options are integrated through Qixxit’s partner Skyscanner. While Deutsche Bahn train tickets can be booked directly through Qixxit, other bookings are carried out through travel service providers or travel agents.

Qixxit was founded in 2012 by Deutsche Bahn and sits under the DB Digital Ventures group, which
finances and develops new data-based business models.

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RUSSIA: Aeroexpress launched an Artificial Intelligence (AI) bot named Andrey to provide primary support online for customers using frequently asked questions service.

The bot has been developed by the Russian company Just AI, a part of the i-Free Group, which specialises in artificial intelligence technologies.

Without any assistance from an operator, Andrey provides comprehensive answers to frequently asked questions, thereby taking care of 72% of inquiries. The bot advises passengers about how to buy train tickets in order to travel to the airport, the time of the nearest train service, and the conditions of carriage. It can explain where the required terminal is situated and how long a ride with Aeroexpress will take.

Andrey understands the natural speech rather than offers to select menu items. For example, if asked “How long does it take for a ticket to be delivered to the email?” the bot will figure out that an e-ticket is meant and will reply that it is usually sent within a few seconds. It will also understand if a customer is interested in some special fares or baggage transportation conditions. All of this is possible thanks to artificial intelligence. Just AI in close cooperation with Aeroexpress specialists working with inquiries, continues improving it by teaching the bot questions based on information generally contained in enquiries. Even now, according to users’ feedback and estimates, the answers provided by the virtual consultant are complete and useful over 60% of the time.

The online consultant was launched in November 2017, making it possible to significantly decrease the call centre load and increase the speed of serving Aeroexpress passengers. Hotline costs have been reduced by 17%. Since being put into operation, Andrey has already handled 21,000 inquiries, and this number keeps growing month by month.

In March, approximately 9,000 website users directed their questions to the bot, which is double the amount compared to the first month of service.

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RUSSIA: Russian Railways have officially opened the new suburbian rail link to Volgograd Airport on 17th May 2018.

The project is part of the preparation work for the FIFA 2018 Football World Cup, which will allow guests and residents of Volgograd to quickly reach the airport from the city centre. 

The journey from the airport to the city centre will take 40 minutes, the single ticket fare is 40 rubbles (0.54 euro).

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Tirane Railway

ALBANIA: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Union (EU) and its partners are stepping up their support for strategic transport links in Albania. The Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) has made available up to €35.5 million in grants to complement an EBRD loan of up to €36.9 million.

The funds will serve to modernise more than 34 km of the existing railway line between Tirana and Durres on the Adriatic coast. Durres is the country’s largest port and an important regional hub for international trade. Furthermore, the finance will help to construct a new 7.4km rail link, which will connect both cities to Rinas International Airport. 

The state-owned Albanian Railways is already inviting pre-qualification bids for the two projects. The closing date for submitting applications is May 31 and the construction works must be completed in 30 months from start.

This strategic infrastructure project in Albania is expected to make a tangible difference both to people and businesses across the region. It improves people’s everyday lives by offering a shorter, safer journey on a key route, while also unlocking new trade opportunities for local businesses. Lastly, it promotes a shift from road services to lower-carbon rail services, thereby supporting the long-term goal of building green, sustainable and integrated economies in the Western Balkans.

The railway upgrade in Albania is part of a larger initiative that aims to support connectivity in the region. The EBRD announced in December 2017 that it had committed €190.5 million in loans for major railway improvements in the Western Balkans. The EU is providing over €120 million in grants to ensure these projects can be carried out.

To date, the EBRD has invested almost €1 billion in some 80 projects in Albania.

 

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New Metro North Map and Key Facts 1 e14495753249811

IRELAND: Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) has appointed Jacobs Engineering Group and Idom to develop and implement Ireland's first metro system connecting Dublin Airport to south city centre.

The new 19km high frequency, high capacity metro service envisages some 11km of tunnel through the city, with 10 underground stations and five above-ground stations. It will integrate other transport options across the city to maximize user capacity and functionality. Running from Swords, via Dublin Airport to Dublin's south city centre, the scheme will also look to upgrade the existing LUAS green line to Sandford to increase capacity and fully integrate with the new metro.

"With a forecast of economic and population growth, the new metro service will play a vital role in improving Dublin's mobility, unlocking much-needed transit capacity and improving air quality at the same time," said Jacobs Buildings and Infrastructure Europe Senior Vice President and General Manager Donald Morrison. "Continuing our long history in supporting TII with major infrastructure implementation across Ireland, we look forward to working with Idom to bring a global team and depth of metro experience from both organizations to this potentially transformative project."

MetroLink is scheduled to be operational in 2027.

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Montreal Train Station

CANADA: Aéroports de Montréal (ADM) President and CEO Philippe Rainville has announced major infrastructure works to meet the growing passenger demands.

Over the next eight years there are plans to rebuild the multilevel parking garage across from the terminal and the passenger drop off area. Planning of these projects will also include the connection to the REM light rail network. According to Rainville, starting next year the work will begin to add the underground station 35 meters below the multilevel parking.

"Montréal will at last join the ranks of world metropolises that have fast, efficient transit links with their international airports," Rainville said. "At the current rate, Montréal–Trudeau airport will see traffic growth of more than 7% in 2018, and this after posting record growth in passenger numbers of 9.5% in 2017."

The plans also include airside improvement works. In total the projects will require investment of at least $2.5 billion over the next five years.

Montreal Curbside

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Birmingham International Station Tracks 780x390

UK: Plans to transform Birmingham International Station into a fully integrated transport exchange, linked to the new HS2 Interchange Station in Solihull, were given a major boost after £9.27m was secured to progress the design process.

The Urban Growth Company (UGC) – set up by Solihull Council to maximise the benefits of HS2’s arrival – secured the Devolution Deal funding from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

The funding will allow the UGC to appoint consultants to progress the technical design of the station, and design and build contractors to undertake the physical delivery of the project.

The UGC’s plan is to transform the existing station into a multi-modal transport exchange bringing together existing rail, future high speed rail, air, trams, buses, rapid transit, private vehicles, taxis, bicycles and an automated people mover, through seamless connections to Birmingham Airport and the HS2 Interchange Station by 2025.

The plans form a major part of the ambitions for the UK Central Hub which is the area of land in Solihull near the M42 comprising Birmingham Airport, the NEC, Jaguar Land Rover, Birmingham Business Park and Arden Cross, which will be home to the HS2 Interchange Station from 2026.

The UGC has predicted that The Hub has the potential to create up to 77,500 new jobs, 775,000 sq m of commercial space, 4,000 new homes and £4.1bn GVA each year.

Nick Brown, Chairman of the Urban Growth Company, said:

“This project is strategically important because of its role in unlocking major growth and development, as well as improving accessibility and connectivity. It also means that Birmingham International Station, which is set to become one of the busiest stations in the UK, will become an iconic gateway to the region with greater capacity and a much-improved passenger experience.”

The estimated cost of the entire Birmingham International Station project is £286m and the UGC will continue working with regional and central government to secure funding to deliver the project by December 2025.

 

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linha 13 jade novo trem

BRAZIL: Sao Paulo Metro Line 13, connecting the city to the Airport, will start daily test operations between 10am and 3pm from 30th of April. The line has been running on assisted operations schedule on Saturdays and Sundays only since the 31st of March.

During the four test weekends the CPTM Line 13 Jade carried almost 120 thousand people, most of them using it as a tour to learn about the route and its integration with Guarulhos International Airport (GRU Airport).

The company is looking to complete all the tests in May and make the necessary adjustments for the beginning of the commercial operations scheduled for June, when the trains will run from 4am to midnight.

Line 13 Jade is the first rail link with the Guarulhos region and a new transport connection to access the international airport.

With a total of 12.2 km, Line 13-Jade has three stations: Aeroporto-Guarulhos, Guarulhos-Cecap (new) and Engineer Goulart (rebuilt), which integrates with Line 12-Sapira (Brás-Calmon Viana), in the city of São Paulo.

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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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Brussels Airport Autonomous Shuttle

BELGIUM: The board of directors of De Lijn and the management committee of Brussels Airport Company have given the go-ahead for a pilot project with a self-driving electric bus on the airport. The vehicle that is being developed for this, will be one of the first to drive in Belgium in mixed traffic. 

After the summer of 2019, the constructor 2GetThere will begin tests without passengers in Utrecht. The shuttle bus will arrive at Brussels Airport in the beginning of 2020 for further tests.

Brussels Airport Company and De Lijn entered into a partnership of intent for deploying self-driving shuttles at the airport in 2015. After further study and the choice of the constructor, both companies gave full support to the pilot project for testing an autonomous shuttle on the airport grounds.

“As intermodal hub where various means of transport connect seamlessly with each other, Brussels Airport is constantly studying new possibilities for expanding this hub in a sustainable way. This technologically innovative project to have a self-driving electric bus operating a fixed route, also fits in with our environmental commitment to keep the impact on our surroundings as low as possible”, says Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Company.

“Flanders is taking on the role of pioneer”, says Flemish Minister for Mobility Ben Weyts. “In other countries driverless vehicles are already operational, but that is often in a separate lane with a steward on board. Here, the aim is to have the self-driving shuttle drive autonomously on the public roads. This is cutting-edge technology that really appeals to the imagination. We are making an investment in the future, in greater efficiency and in a more attractive range of public transport.”

The Dutch constructor 2GetThere will start the project in the coming weeks. The contract is divided into two parts. The first part covers the development and thorough testing of the technology until the middle of 2020. In autumn 2019, the constructor will be holding the first vehicle tests at his own site in Utrecht. If everything works out well, the first self-driving bus will arrive at Brussels Airport in the beginning of 2020 for further test drives at the airport. The test route for this development stage is in the Brucargo business zone.

The first stage with tests and development of the self-driving bus will take two years. In this period, De Lijn and Brussels Airport Company can perform all necessary safety tests in various weather conditions and traffic situations. During the test period, no passengers, visitors or staff will be on board.

If the first stage is completed with a positive assessment, De Lijn and Brussels Airport Company will be able to decide to deploy the self-driving shuttle from 2021 onwards on the airport grounds for the transport of passengers, visitors and staff on the route between the terminal and Brucargo.

Brussels Airport Company and De Lijn are sharing the project costs. De Lijn is paying the costs of the follow-up project for people who travel by public transport (De Lijn, MIVB, NMBS) to the airport. The airport operator will foot the costs for the transport of persons who come to the airport by other means of transport (staff, visitors or passengers).

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UK: A ground-breaking ceremony on Tuesday 17 April marked the official start of works on the state-of-the-art £225m Luton DART fast transit system, linking London Luton Airport with Luton Airport Parkway railway station.

It will take passengers less than four minutes to connect from Luton Airport Parkway to the airport terminal via Luton DART, improving rail access from central London to UK's fifth biggest airport in 30 minutes by the fastest train.

“The Luton DART will benefit not only airport passengers but also the people and businesses of Luton in that it supports our ambitions to secure long-term economic growth and ensure local people have access to high-quality employment opportunities. We are all looking forward to the Luton DART opening in 2021," Coucillor
Hazel Simmons said.

LLAL awarded contracts in December for the civil works with VolkerFitzpatrick-Kier joint venture and for the transportation system with Doppelmayr Cable Car UK Ltd. The project has full planning permission from Luton and Central Bedfordshire councils, and is on track to be ready for operation by spring 2021. It will create 500 construction jobs over three years, 30 apprenticeships, and 17 permanent positions.

Councillor Andy Malcolm said: “The Luton DART will support ongoing growth to 18 million passengers per year by 2021, and make sure the passenger experience we provide is significantly enhanced.”

The Luton DART will be a double-shuttle, fully-automated people-mover (APM) based on latest system technology and design innovation, and capable of operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The cable-driven system is energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

The 2.1km route will run between two purpose-built stations at Bartlett Square and the airport terminal, crossing a new gateway bridge over Airport Way. In peak time, a service will leave each station every four minutes.

As a key delivery partner for the Luton Investment Framework, LLAL is also bringing forward significant commercial developments at New Century Park, Bartlett Square and, later, a revitalised Airport Business Park.

Nick Barton, Chief Executive Officer of London Luton Airport Operations Ltd (LLAOL), said: “The DART will play an important role in achieving our goal of being a bigger and better airport – one that creates easy and enjoyable experiences and makes sustainable travel an essential part of our growth. To maximise the DART’s benefits we need to make it better for more passengers to get here by train. That’s why we’re calling for an increase in rail services as part of the Department for Transport’s current consultation on the East Midlands franchise.”   

Sophie Dekkers, Director, UK market for easyJet, said: “easyJet welcomes the new direct rail link connecting Luton Airport Parkway train station with the airport for the enhanced passenger experience it promises to deliver. We already encourage our passengers to travel by rail and we hope the number of easyJet passengers who arrive by rail at London Luton Airport will increase with this new, faster and easier link."

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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

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CAMBODIA: On 10th of April the Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol has launched the 9.6km airport rail shuttle service from Phnom Penh Railway Station to Phnom Penh International Airport. 

The service is currently running on two utilized existing trains, three more trains build and ordered from Mexico will be added to the service shortly. Each wagon is equipped with air conditioning, 56 seats and can handle an additional 45 standing passengers.

The train service departs every 30 minutes, taking approximately 25 minutes on its one-way journey. In collaboration with the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, passengers can check in and send their belongings through secure checkpoints from the Phnom Penh Railway Station to the International Airport.

To celebrate the Khmer New Year, the service is free of charge from April 10 until the end of July, 2018.

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The Southern Cross Station (SCS) precinct is Australia's only privately operated transport precinct and delivers services to over 75 million patrons per year. The station precinct is Australia's largest transportation hub with the integrated hub of rail, bus, retail, commercial and public space and continues to evolve as Victoria's transport system grows. The precinct provides critical links to Victoria’s Metropolitan Rail Network, Regional Rail Network, Interstate Rail and Coach Services and Melbourne Airports.

“We are very happy to join the Global AirRail Alliance, and look forward to being able to both contribute to, and engage with, the GARA community. SCS, Australia’s largest transportation hub, is well placed to facilitate access to the Melbourne CBD and provide extensive regional connectivity as Government planning commences for the long-awaited Melbourne airport rail link. We look forward to the continued development of this project and the opportunity to share our experience with members”, Senior Associate of Infrastructure, Josh Norton said.

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Groupe ADP Navya

FRANCE: Groupe ADP has just launched a trial of two fully electric, driverless shuttles – the first at a French airport. Located in the heart of the airport's business district, Roissypôle, they connect the suburban train station (RER) to the Environmental and Sustainable Development Resource Centre and Groupe ADP's headquarters.

Keolis, the operator, has joined forces with Navya, the French autonomous shuttle designer, to carry out the pilot project until July 2018. This initial trial represents an important milestone in Groupe ADP’s strategy to become a key player in the autonomous vehicle ecosystem. The aim of the pilot is to test how the automated vehicles will behave on a high-traffic roadway, as well as how they merge and pass within an extremely dense environment that includes many pedestrians.

An intelligent road infrastructure system that uses traffic signals to communicate dynamically with the shuttles has been set up in order to optimise the crossing of the road in complete safety. Feedback from users (employees and passengers) is also one of the trial's determining factors.

According to Groupe ADP, the new autonomous mobility solutions are a strategic concern for the development and competitiveness for airports, as they help enhance service quality and the reliability of the various transportation modes used, in addition to improving road network flow around major hubs. This initial step will allow Groupe ADP to subsequently roll out this technology on other sites and with other applications, within a multifaceted area like the airport city.

“Autonomous transport services will play a key role in our aim to create a new generation of connected airports. With this first trial, Groupe ADP is paving the way for developing this technology within our airport networks in France and abroad. In these constrained environments, autonomous technology is a lever for optimizing infrastructures for of a new mobility offer. Our airports' mobility needs are quite considerable – between the various terminals, car parks and departure areas, or even airside – and could lead us to develop an autonomous vehicle fleet in the future. Within the framework of our Innovation Hub programme, the future of mobility is being built in the heart of the airport city", stated Edward Arkwright, Deputy CEO of Groupe ADP.

The two shuttles, accessible to persons with reduced mobility, can carry up to 11 seated and 4 standing passengers. Each can reach 25 km/h on a 700-metre-long track. The service operates from 07:30 am to 08:00 pm and is free. An on-demand shuttle service is available by scanning a QR code with a smartphone.

“Keolis and the ADP Group have been working closely for several years now in order to develop mobility services adapted to the airport zones of the Paris region. Keolis is proud to be supporting the ADP Group in their new autonomous vehicle trial, which enhances the range of services that we already provide them with, including the management of the Roissypôle bus station, the shuttle buses for Orly Airport, as well as our partnership with Le Bus Direct, a premium coach service between Paris and Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports. This is Keolis’ second autonomous shuttle project in the Greater Paris region, following the launch of a first trial in Paris’ La Defense business district in July 2017, with the local transport authority, Ile-de-France Mobilités,”said Youenn Dupuis, Keolis’ Deputy CEO for Greater Paris region.

"NAVYA is delighted to be marking out the airport of the future together with Groupe ADP and Keolis. The airport of the future is based on smart and specially adapted mobility solutions that are able to communicate with the infrastructure that we have set up at Roissypôle with Groupe ADP. Airports are areas where the traffic is extremely concentrated and so it is really important to manage and optimise the flow. The aim of this trial is from now on, to provide a service that takes into account future deployments," states NAVYA CEO Christophe Sapet.

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Gatwick airport entrance 01

UK: Network Rail, in partnership with Gatwick Airport Ltd, Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership and the Department for Transport, has submitted proposals to reduce congestion and improve passenger experience at the station, which serves 19m passengers a year – up from 7.5m 20 years ago.

The proposals submitted to Crawley Borough Council aim to reduce crowding at the station, improve passenger flow and provide better connections between the railway station, airport terminals and onward travel destinations.

Proposed improvements include:

  • Almost doubling the size of the rail station concourse
  • Eight new escalators, five new lifts and four new stairways to improve accessibility and passenger flow
  • Widening platforms 5 and 6 to reduce overcrowding
  • Better connections to the south terminal with improved passenger information
  • An attractive new roof structure
  • The proposals will accommodate forecast rail growth up to 2036.

John Halsall, Network Rail manager director for the South East route, said: “The proposals will transform passenger experience, support airport growth and, along with other upgrades of the Brighton Main Line – the £300m reliability fund and our proposals for Croydon – improve journeys and provide a boost to the local, regional and national economy.”

Guy Stephenson, Chief Commercial Officer, Gatwick Airport, said: “The new Gatwick station is set to reduce congestion and give passengers a much improved experience, including a more seamless transition between airport and station. The new station also complements the transformation of train services at Gatwick. Later this year trains will start leaving Gatwick for London with tube-like frequency – every three minutes – and new direct services will start to Cambridge and Peterborough for the first time ever.”

Stephen Maccallaugh, GTR's Head of Gatwick Express, said: "The growing popularity of Gatwick and its increasing passenger numbers is a real positive for the airport and the station. This news highlights plans to significantly enhance the customer experience and ensure the station meets the changing demands of the airport and its customers, and it will be greatly welcomed by our passengers and our teams that work at the station and airport."

Indicative project timeline:

  • Crawley Borough Council will determine the planning application in spring 2018
  • Funding parties will make a final decision on the project in autumn 2018
  • Construction begins in 2019
  • Project completion in 2022

The project is subject to planning permission and a final decision by all funding parties.

Posted on in News

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CANADA: Ontario Government has committed more than $11 billion in the 2018 Budget to support construction of Phase One of Canada's first high speed rail line. The line will connect Toronto's Union Station, Pearson International Airport, Guelph, Kitchener and London as early as 2025. Electric powered trains moving at up to 250 km/h will cut the travel times to an estimated 48 minutes between Kitchener and Toronto Union Station.

As part of the environmental assessment phase, Ontario is now working with the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) to explore options to connect two-way, all-day service on the Kitchener GO line to the proposed multimodal transit hub at Toronto Pearson International Airport. The major transit hub the GTAA is proposing to build at Pearson will offer seamless connections between trains, buses, airplanes, light rail vehicles and high speed rail along the Toronto-Windsor corridor.