By Amalia Otet, Associate Editor
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport marked a major milestone April 8 with the opening of the $1.6 billion PHX Sky Train system. Officials are touting the system as a catalyst for transit-oriented development and establishing a sustainable platform for growth.
The automated electric train will operate around the clock, transporting passengers between the 44th Street and Washington METRO light rail, the East Economy parking area and the 88-gate Terminal 4, which handles 80 percent of Sky Harbor’s passengers.
Designed by Gannett Fleming, the rail system will cut Sky Harbor’s greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 6,000 tons per year. The three stations, which were designed by HOK, will consume 30 percent less power than comparable conventionally designed projects, according to.HOK news.
For example, the elliptical form of Sky Train’s 44th Street station allowed a 30 percent reduction in the volume of structural steel. Moreover, the elliptical shell functions as a high-performance envelope, protecting passengers from the extremes of the desert climate.
Sky Train is the first automated people-mover to earn LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. By early 2015, Sky Train is scheduled to extend to Terminal 3 with a walkway to Terminal 2. In its final stage of construction, the train system will continue to the Rental Car Center.
Images courtesy of HOK