Tampa International Airport ConRAC Facility and APM System


Hillsborough County Aviation Authority


Construction Cost
$730 million

Completion Date
October 2017

Project Size
2,440,000 SF ConRAC
1.4 miles for APM

Tampa International Airport ConRAC Facility and APM System


Tampa International Airport is consistently ranked as one of the most innovative and passenger-friendly U.S, airports. Primarily confined to its original 1971 footprint, the roadways and passenger pick up and drop off areas at the Airport’s main terminal had become increasingly congested by late 2011. The on-site car rental facilities, located at the main terminal, were also approaching capacity. A 2012 master plan called for a one-billion-dollar expansion to dramatically improve airport operations and prepare the airport for future growth growth by adding a Consolidated Rental Car Center (ConRAC) and an Automated People Mover (APM) system including a 1.4-mile guideway, three stations and a maintenance facility.

The project presented two primary technical challenges. First, an optimum APM routing configuration had to be found that would not interrupt existing operations. Second, foundation and support columns for the APM had to avoid a maze of existing utilities and roadways and accommodate a future light-rail system. These twin constraints threatened the entire project as initial layouts called for excessively expensive structural spans of over 400 feet.

Walter P Moore used advanced digital workflows to optimize the APM routing as well as rapidly and accurately evaluate, design, and communicate structural solutions as the APM configuration was refined. To the team’s knowledge, this was the first significant use of parametric modeling and BIM on a people mover project in the U.S.

Known as SkyConnect, the APM provides fast, safe, and sustainable transportation for passengers traveling between the main terminal, the new ConRAC and the economy parking structures. The project removed nearly three million vehicles from TPA’s roads annually, reducing carbon emissions by approximately 1,600 tons each year, and providing passengers with a faster and safer experience. 

This expansion ensures that the airport will continue to deliver great customer service by reducing the time needed to move around the airport while increasing safety. Further, the project gives the Airport mobility capacity to meet future growth demands, helping Tampa International Airport remain one of the top airports in the country for years to come.