Rails-to-contrails are taking off!

Denver International Airport - Source slrobertson.com

Denver International Airport – Source slrobertson.com

One of the most impressive things that I noticed during a recent trip about Denver’s magnificent international airport is that the city is not relying solely on the almighty automobile, shuttles, or buses for passenger access and ground transportation. Currently under construction and opening by 2015 will be the East Rail Line linking Denver International Airport to Union Station in downtown Denver. While systems such as Denver’s rail-to-contrail connection have tended to be an exception rather than the rule in North America for many years, intermodal aviation access opportunities by rail have taken off over the past two decades.

If there ever was a perfect match of transportation options, rail and air are it. Here are just a few of the micro and macro reasons why:

  • Passengers don’t need to pay large sums for parking their cars.
  • Visitors can access key points without having to rent a car.
  • On-site traffic congestion is reduced.
  • The need for constructing large parking garages can be minimized.
  • Increased safety as the need to wander parking lots and garages at night is reduced.
  • More environmentally friendly and sustainable transportation system.
  • less reliance on cars and fossil fuels.
  • Reduced carbon footprint.
  • Easier connections to other intra and intercity rail options.
Sea-Tac Light Rail Station - Source: mowatco.com

Sea-Tac Light Rail Station – Source: mowatco.com

Below is the list of those airports in North America that have direct (on-site or adjacent) rail links to the city. Any known corrections or additions are most welcome. Congratulations to these cities for being the leaders in providing intermodal transportation options at their airports (some links are also provided).

Other major airport destinations will need to step it up to compete. Among the cities that should be taking steps toward providing some form of rails-to-contrails airport connection, include:

  • Anchorage
  • Austin
  • Buffalo
  • Calgary
  • Cancun
  • Charlotte
  • Cincinnati
  • Columbus
  • Detroit
  • Edmonton
  • El Paso
  • Greensboro/Winston-Salem
  • Guadalajara
  • Hartford (Bradley)
  • Houston (Hobby)
  • Houston (Intercontinental)
  • Indianapolis
  • Jacksonville
  • Kansas City
  • Kingston, Jamaica
  • Las Vegas
  • Los Angeles (Ontario)
  • Louisville
  • Memphis
  • Monterrey
  • Nashville
  • New Orleans
  • New York (LaGuardia)
  • Oklahoma City
  • Omaha
  • Orange County (John Wayne)
  • Ottawa
  • Panama City, Panama
  • Pittsburgh
  • Raleigh-Durham
  • Sacramento
  • San Antonio
  • San Diego
  • San Juan
  • Santo Domingo
  • Tampa
  • Toronto
  • Tucson
  • Washington (Dulles)
  • Winnipeg

It seems like rail-to-contrail connections would be particularly useful and passenger-friendly at resort, convention, and vacation locales like Orlando, Honolulu, Tampa, San Juan, or Las Vegas. Meanwhile, it is nice to see more and more North American cities join the ranks of those having intermodal international airports.

This entry was posted in Active transportation, aerospace, air travel, airport planning, airports, architecture, aviation, Canada, cities, commerce, economic development, geography, infrastructure, land use, logistics, North America, Passenger rail, placemaking, planning, product design, rail, spatial design, sprawl, sustainability, technology, tourism, Trade, transit, transportation, Travel, urban planning and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Rails-to-contrails are taking off!

  1. Pingback: URL

  2. Chris says:

    If only the government had handed Disney the Florida HSR contract, I’m sure that we’d have a 300 MPH MagLev from Orlando to Disney World by now…


  3. Andrew Sharp says:

    Dorval, Islip and Love Field are stretching the definition of ‘Adjacent’.
    For more info, try http://www.airportrailwaysoftheworld.com and http://www.iaro.com


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