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PHX Sky Train Stage 1

PHX makes history with a world-class transit solution. 
  • PHX Sky Train-Gannett Fleming

    The iconic 44th Street Station serves as a gateway to Phoenix, connecting passengers from light rail and multiple ground transportation modes to Terminal 4, the airport's busiest terminal. © Bob Perzel

  • PHX Sky Train-Gannett Fleming

    The guideway crosses over Taxiway Romeo. The 340-foot bridge was designed with a vertical clearance height of more than 75 feet.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

Kimley-Horn & Associates, Dinter Engineering, HOK, Hensel Phelps

Phoenix, Arizona

Our Role
Land Use Studies, Transportation Planning, Fixed-Facilities Engineering, Fixed-Facilities Design, Structural, Geotechnical, Vertical Transportation, Building Information Modeling, Security Systems Analysis, Contract and Project Management, Construction Monitoring.

Stage 1 is 1.92-miles-long and includes three elevated passenger stations
Construction Cost
$580 million
New Construction
10 years
  • LEED® Gold Certified, raising the bar for the industry as the only LEED-certified public transportation campus in the world
  • Established first Federal Aviation Administration design guidelines for a bridge above a taxiway
  • Applied transit-oriented design, linking customers between multiple ground transportation modes and the terminal
  • Exceeded projected ridership by 30 percent, serving an additional 3,000 customers a day
  • Connects travelers 24/7, providing access to 1,200 flights daily.

After more than a decade of planning, design, and construction, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport opened Stage 1 of the PHX Sky Train® to customers on April 8, 2013. The people mover system allows one of the country's busiest airports to alleviate roadway congestion and enhance customer service, while serving as a prototype for airports seeking modern transit solutions.

The initial 1.92-mile-long PHX Sky Train® segment includes three elevated passenger stations, and it links the Phoenix region's 44th Street Valley Metro light rail station with the airport's economy parking area and the 88-gate Terminal 4. The layout and operation of the system is designed to be intuitive and simple, creating a high level of service and convenience for passengers with facilities that are well integrated into the airport and the surrounding community.

What We Did

For Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, projected growth was standing in the way of airport operations and happy customers. Its existing landside transportation system would not be able to handle the airport’s future ground transportation needs. The solution? The PHX Sky Train®, an automated people mover system. 

The project smartly enabled airport growth by adding capacity to a severely constrained landside access system. Accomplished with a user-friendly system that enhances the community and improves connectivity to regional transit and roadway systems, the project integrates foresight and innovation into the design process to accommodate long-term airport growth. 

The first of its kind in the world, the PHX Sky Train® crosses an active taxiway via a three-span, cast-in-place post-tensioned box girder bridge with a 340-foot main span to accommodate Group V aircraft.

Key Features

  • Airport will save $10 million by 2033 through efficiencies documented by LEED® process
  • Alleviates roadway and curbside congestion by moving elevated guideway through existing 3,000 acres of landlocked airfields, terminals, and roadways
  • Set the first Federal Aviation Administration design guidelines for a bridge above a taxiway
  • Applies transit-oriented design linking customers between multiple ground transportation modes and the terminal
  • Enhances the airport’s long-term growth ability, setting the stage for a 5-mile-long automated people mover corridor
  • CM-at-Risk model supported fast-track delivery, overlapping design and construction processes with 31 separate design packages, condensing construction schedule to 3.5 years.

Sustainability Features & Outcomes

  • The PHX Sky Train® reduces roadway and curbside congestion while enhancing customer service
  • The driverless automated PHX Sky Train® operates 24-hours a day, arriving at stations every 3 minutes during peak periods, and delivering passengers to their destinations within 5 minutes of boarding
  • In its ultimate buildout, the electrically powered, automated PHX Sky Train® is expected to result in 20,000 fewer vehicles per day through the airport, reducing the airport’s greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 6,000 tons annually
  • The three stations use 30 percent less power than established normal baselines
  • The project has been LEED® Gold Certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, making it the only LEED-certified public transportation campus in the world.

Awards & Recognition

  • National Engineering Excellence Honor Award, 2014, American Council of Engineering Companies, Engineering Excellence Awards
  • Outstanding Transit Innovation Award, 2013, Arizona Transit Association/Arizona Department of Transportation, Excellence Awards
  • Exposing the Best in Concrete Award, 2013, Arizona Chapter of the American Concrete Institute, Exposing the Best in Concrete Awards
  • Judges Choice Award, 2013, American Council of Engineering Companies of Arizona, Engineering Excellence Awards
  • Clifford C. Sawyer Achievement Award, 2013, American Council of Engineering Companies of Arizona, Engineering Excellence Awards
  • Best Project in the Transportation Category and Best Project in the Safety Category, 2012, ENR Southwest magazine, Best of 2012 Awards.

Similar Projects: Transportation: Airports, Transportation: Bridges, Project Delivery: CM-at-Risk & Turnkey, Transportation: Transit & Rail, Transit & Rail: Transit System Development, Vertical Transportation