LAX is one of the most horribly designed airports I’ve ever driven through. The map below shows a bi-level counter clockwise traffic pattern that subdivides arrivals and departures. With three different entrance and exit points, the congestion into the airport even for drop off is horrendous. With buses, shuttles, and cars (taxi, uber/lyft and personal) all vying to get into the appropriate terminal as quickly as possible, vehicles cut each other off, blocking traffic flow and ultimately slowing everyone down.
Here’s my thought about how to make LAX great again.
- LAX should be redesigned to minimize traffic into and out of circling loop.
- There should be a people moving system that transport of people.
- There should be one large or multiple interconnected parking structures that run along the length of the terminals.
- Passengers can no longer be picked up/dropped off on the curbside. Passenger vehicles are no longer permitted to enter LAX unless they are parking.
- Vehicles are encouraged to park in the parking structure with a minimum fee to park.
- Pick ups and drops offs will now occur offsite away from traffic at separate locations. The people moving system will link to the location.
Prioritizing Shuttle Buses.
Traffic into the airport should only be limited to shuttle buses like inter-terminal shuttles, parking shuttles, and hotel shuttles. For situations like tour group pick ups/drop offs, a fee based pass seems to be appropriate. The congestion should ease up significantly with the lack of passenger vehicles circling the airport. By restricting passenger vehicles from entering, LAX frees the roads up to shuttle service and special high occupancy tour buses.
Passenger Pick ups and Drop offs.
The majority of the traffic going into and in LAX is caused by cars that are picking up or dropping off passengers. By utilizing two large offsite locations (one for pick ups and one for drops off), it will be easier to handle the traffic flow since a location is dedicated to a single purpose. A people moving system will transport passengers appropriately. The pick up location will also require a large “waiting” area for the cars that arrive a little earlier and need to wait for the passengers. This is similar to the “cell phone lot.”
For the people that prefer to see their passengers off, the parking in LAX should be expanded and redesigned. The structures should be linked with only one controlled entrance to pick up the parking slip and multiple exits for payment. Similarly, the entrance and exits into the parking structure should be different from the entrance and exits into the offsite pick up and drop off locations and different from the ones used by the shuttle buses.
People Moving System
An interconnected people moving system is critical to make the changes work in LAX. With the ban of passenger vehicles into LAX, it becomes critical for the system to work smoothly to transport passengers from terminals to the off site pick up / drop off locations. Using a network of buses will initially work but ultimately an automated tram would be desirable to reduce the congestion of shuttle buses.
Overall each of the changes I think will serve to minimize the traffic into LAX and hopefully make the experience of going to an airport just a little more enjoyable.