Recently I traveled to Washington D.C. to participate in an Airport Cooperative Research Panel for the Transportation Research Board. When I arrived at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), I was pleased to see that just a few days prior to my arrival, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) unveiled its latest terminal improvement, which has been many years in the making: the Aero Train. Here are some pictures I took of it:
When I was in college we studied the various terminal-to-terminal passenger transit options that are used at airports. MWAA has used mobile lounges to transport passengers between terminals for many years. A mobile lounge is cross between a scissor lift and a shuttle bus. Typically they hold approximately 100 people and have the flexibility to rise up and down to accommodate various terminal door heights. Here’s what one looks like:
The new Aero Train opened on January 26, 2010, after eight years of construction. Although personally I loved the uniqueness of the mobile lounge, the new Aero Train makes the journey from the terminals to curb effortless. The architecture of the train stations was open and bright and reminded me of the many DC Metro subway stations.
As the era of “old-fashioned” terminal transit goes away, it is replaced with a modern and architecturally impressive facility to exemplify the travel experience! Be sure to check it out during your next trip to IAD. And remember, San Diego International Airport has three daily departures to IAD, and many of the airfares are very reasonable.