Photo courtesy of Wim Mees
Transit access to air travel
The Berlin-Brandenburg International Airport (BBI), a six-level megastructure, will condense Berlin’s three regional airports (Tegel, Tempelhof, and Schönefeld) into a new, modern airport by 2011. Promising to be functional, cosmopolitan and inexpensive, the BBI is using innovative technologies and state-of-the art features to provide a high-quality and efficient international airport in the heart of Europe. At maximum capacity, the BBI will be able to handle 40 to 45 million passengers every year. The region’s commitment to environmental concerns also are integrated in the elements of the BBI, including heat recovery systems, geothermal energy, and cooling systems using rainwater, as well as low-noise vehicles and asphalt for the construction of nearby roads. The new airport will bring more than 40,000 new jobs to the Berlin-Brandenburg area, and provide significant purchasing power.
A six-track rail station, with three platforms directly below the main terminal, will give BBI travelers direct access to the heart of Berlin. The new rail link at the airport, funded in part by the regional authorities and European Fund for Regional Development (EFRD), will be fully integrated with Europe’s extensive intercity and national rail network, providing a stop for the German Railways (DB) and the Intercity Express Trains (ICE). This will allow for easy connections to other destinations and provide better accessibility to cities like Prague and Warsaw. Known as the Airport Shuttle, the regional transit agency also will operate a special express train that can get travelers to the central city in 20 minutes. It will complement existing local rail (S-Bahn and U-Bahn) and express bus services.
While O’Hare and Midway International Airports are both connected to the rail network and provide service to downtown Chicago, we can learn from the BBI’s ability to create efficient connections to a variety of local, regional, and multinational destinations. BBI teaches us to make better use of our existing infrastructure and maximize the growth opportunities for our current system.
This article was featured in Talking Transit, MPC's bi-weekly e-newsletter. To receive the newsletter, visit http://www.metroplanning.org/personalize.asp.