LAX Construction Takes Off to Serve More Than 88 Million Passengers

lax construction upgrades video

Modernizing Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is one of the most extensive public works projects in California’s history. LAX serves as a hub city for more passenger airlines than any other airport in the country, and a connection point for international travelers. To ease congestion and provide a better travel experience for more than 88 million passengers, LAX is undergoing a $14 billion construction project that includes upgrades to runways, terminals, and operational systems, as well as major infrastructure improvements to the city's metro systems. Timing is perfect for the project, as the city of Los Angeles prepares to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup and the 2028 Olympic Games.  

But improving the world’s third busiest commercial airport, while remaining operational, is no easy feat. To make the project a success, design and construction teams have turned to digital technology to collaborate on over 180 design models with a dozen different trades located across 33 offices in 22 cities. Early and ongoing design reviews are critical to troubleshoot and anticipate construction issues prior to building, and software like BIM 360 within Autodesk Construction Cloud™ is key to helping LAX construction teams achieve certainty in safety, cost, and schedule, while reducing risk.

The multiphased LAX construction upgrades will allow the airport to remain one of the world's premier transit hubs. And with passengers planning travel routes based on airport amenities and services, LAX is poised to increase traffic with its new functionality. Watch the video from B1M to learn how construction teams are creating a new and improved LAX. 

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 Video Transcript

With the United States preparing to host both the 2026 FIFA World Cup and the 2028 Olympic Games, Los Angeles International Airport is undergoing one of the largest public work programs in Californian history.

With new and improved terminals, world class facilities, and along our way to connection to the city's public transport network, this is LA's $14 billion airport upgrade.

From its origins, as an unpaved landing strip in the 1920s, LAX has grown into one of the world's largest aviation hubs, welcoming 88 million passengers and seeing some 690,000 aircraft movements in 2019 alone.

But while the airport has consistently ranked among the world's busiest, it's also infamous for poor passenger experience and extreme traffic congestion. Passenger numbers have more than doubled since the hub's last major upgrade ahead of the 1984 Olympics and eyeing a new bid for the games Los Angeles World Airports have embarked on a 21st century overhaul.

Their upgrades to runways and operating systems form a large part of the project. The most noticeable changes for passengers will be updates to each terminal, increasing aircraft capacity and improving traveler experience. The 1.9 billion US dollar redevelopment of the Tom Bradley International Terminal is the clearest example to date. With the terminal and concourses rebuilt from scratch, the project added 116,000 square meters of space and 18 new gates, none of which can accommodate wide body aircraft like the A380.

The terminal will be joined by a 1.6 billion US dollar, new midfield satellite concourse in 2020. To accommodate projected growth an 11 gate concourse alongside terminal one and a new 12 gate terminal are already underway and set to be operational by 2028.

But while the growth of LAX has put pressure on existing facilities for years, it is the congestion in and around the airport which is the biggest headache for travelers.

With LAX lacking connections to other forms of transport, the only way to reach the terminals is by the notorious LAX horseshoe, a 1.6 kilometer airport loop that often takes over an hour to drive around in peak times. The 5.5 billion US dollar Landside Access Modernization Program or LAMP, was designed to cut traffic in the airports core. At the heart of LAMP is the 3.6 kilometer Automated People Mover or APM, which will connect the airports terminals to new consolidated parking and rental car facilities and give LAX a long awaited connection to the Los Angeles Metro.

Operating 24 hours a day with six stations along its route, the APM will allow passengers to seamlessly transfer from the Metro to their desired terminal in under 10 minutes and is expected to carry 30 million people each year.

Coordinating and building a project of this scale, while keeping one of the world's busiest airports open, is an extreme task that demands digital collaboration. With designers and engineers from 12 different trades working on over 180 design models, across 33 offices in 22 cities and five different time zones, the expert team turns to Autodesk's BIM 360 Platform.

Using BIM 360 Model Coordination, the team is able to access information about the project from anywhere in the world, at any time of day. Sharing their models and federating them in Autodesk BIM 360, designers use the softwares automatic clash detection features to identify errors, track and address them, before works were undertaken for real on site, avoiding expensive mistakes, saving time and reducing risk.

Giving the whole team access to see and understand the projects digitally in three dimensional form from anywhere in the world before construction, has been critical to the APM progressing on time and within budget. The teams on site are given high quality construction issue information and can effectively build it right, first time.

From upgrading runways and expanding terminals, to the addition of much needed transport infrastructure, all while keeping the airport operational, it's easy to see how the upgraded LAX is the largest public projects in the city's history.

As work continues in the buildup to 2028, regular travelers are set to see one of America's most notorious airports cruise at new heights in the years ahead.

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Josh Garrison

Growth Marketer, Autodesk Construction Solutions