The Automated People Mover (APM) technology has been systematically used to handle increasing airport local passenger demands and for connecting transit systems, into short rides, with medium capacity vehicles (up to 300 passengers per ride), short headways (up to 60 seconds), and, hence, with a high service level.

The APM technology enables the use of the decentralized passenger terminals layout, required for large capacity airports, in order to ensure its operational feasibility, through the safe integration of remote located passenger concourses, as well as assuring reasonable walking distances (up to 300m/1,000 ft) to both airport terminals (passenger boarding, transfers and connections), parking facilities and transit system connections.

The APM can be classified as an advanced transportation system, which uses driverless automated, operating on fixed guideways (single or multicar trains) along an exclusive right-of-way (RoW), on steel or concrete guideways, with capacities ranging from 1,000 to 16,000 passengers per hour direction (pphd), with the ability to operate in an on demand mode, especially during off-peak hours, to minimize the energy used, as well as a ride quality comparable with the best of any transit system.

The APM vehicles are electric-powered, rubber tired, steel wheeled or air cushion suspended, as well as tractioned by onboard electric motors, drawn by cables or pneumatically driven, with different guiding, switching, and control concepts, depending on the technology adopted.

The APM technology was firstly implemented in the United States (U.S.), at the Tampa International Airport, in the early 70’s, followed by other systems in other U.S. and North American airports, as a tool to address the increasing walking distances, caused by the passenger terminals growing, required to accommodate the large passenger traffic. In the late 80’s and early 90’s, the APM technology was also introduced in Asia and Europe for both airports and amusement parks, while in the early 2000’s, in Latin America, for both airports and transit systems.

This work presents an overview of the APM technology, in a review format, based on the available technical literature, followed by an assessment of the APM’s technical and operational features, associated with the different technologies. It also reports some case studies of the main APM systems worldwide and ongoing projects to be implemented.

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