Tampa International Airport’s (TPA) existing rental car facilities were at capacity for current operations and the associated vehicular traffic was contributing to significant congestion at the airport’s roadways and curbsides. Needing room to grow while maintaining the high level of customer service TPA is known for, Hillsborough County Aviation Authority turned to Gresham Smith for answers. As part of a design-build team including Austin Constructors, LLC, we led the design of an off-site Rental Car Center (RCC) as well as an automated people mover (APM) to link the RCC to the Main Terminal byway of the airport’s Economy Parking garage. Elevating the passenger experience, our innovative solution helps decongest TPA’s roadways and curbsides while providing enhanced connectivity and capacity for future growth.
square foot, off-site Rental Car Center
mile SkyConnect automated people mover
vehicles removed from the curbside annually
A Multimarket, Multidisciplinary EffortOne of the largest aviation projects in Gresham Smith’s history—and one of the largest in the history of the Tampa Bay Region—the multidisciplinary effort comprised more than 50 Gresham Smith team members from several markets working together across five different office locations.
Consolidating Rental Car Operations for Better ServiceModern and bright, the new Rental Car Center sets the tone for the first phase of TPA’s three-phase Airport Master Plan. Opened to the public in 2018, the off-site facility has storage space for more than 8,600 vehicles and can process up to 3,200 vehicles per hour. Moving congestion away from the Main Terminal, the RCC doubles the number of on-site rental car brands, meaning more convenience and more choice for travelers as well as a substantial increase in revenue for the client.
Print, Drop off & Ride!The Rental Car Center also houses a new remote bag check that supports multiple airline carriers. The amenity allows customers to return their vehicle at the RCC, print their bag tag, drop their bag off at the counter, and then ride the APM directly to the Main Terminal without the burden of carrying their bags on the train and then to the ticketing counter at the Main Terminal. This free service has had an immediate positive impact on the volume of bags checked at the Main Terminal, further reducing stress on existing operations.
Take A Ride On The APM
One Less Headache for Travelers
The RCC is connected to the Main Terminal and the 11,000-space Economy Parking garage via the SkyConnect—a 1.5-mile automated people mover that replaces the Economy Parking shuttle bus operation, which previously operated 24/7 and contributed to the Main Terminal’s overburdened curbsides. In roughly four and a half minutes, a customer can travel on the SkyConnect from the RCC and Economy Parking garage to the Main Terminal without the headache of curbside congestion. The RCC also features a remote curbside, which services public buses, providing the community and airport staff an additional, convenient way to get to TPA.