The Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is truly the “gateway to the world.” This major transportation hub boasts the most point-of-origin / point-of-destination travelers in the world, with more than 66 million people passing in and out of LAX annually. The multi-phased project addresses issues facing the future of Los Angeles and its surrounding areas by providing a unified, sustainable front door to the city and exemplifying the ability of design to strengthen the existing urban fabric and enhance quality of life.

Program management and master planning

AECOM was selected by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) to manage the comprehensive LAX implementation plan for modernizing the airport. The LAX master plan provides for the design and phased construction, while continuing to serve 65 million passengers a year. The implementation plan includes:

  • Bradley International Terminal expansion
  • New Midfield Satellite Concourse
  • Relocation of south runway
  • Addition of center taxiway to accommodate new large aircraft and improvement of airfield movements
  • New Intermodal Transportation Center (ITC) to improve land access to the central terminal area
  • Consolidated rental car facility


The enhancements will provide a new view for addressing the inevitable growth of LAX by offering design solutions that enable smart, sustainable planning while also capturing the spirit of Los Angeles, helping define the future of its major transportation nexus. In the interest of delivering a project of the highest value, the scheme functions as a kit of parts that can be easily phased and built upon for all future enhancement projects. With Phase I complete, Phase II is scheduled to open in 2015.

Tom Bradley West International Terminal (TBIT), the airport’s largest terminal, is the first element of the new LAX experience to capture the traveler’s attention with a series of aerodynamic metallic canopies replacing pre-existing space-frame structures. The improvements include:

  • An 800-foot roadside canopy
  • Three entry pavilions canopies with integral skylights
  • Two new escalator and stair canopies that link the arrival and departure levels
  • A renovated plaza at the arrival level that delivers more light and space for travelers

The project revitalizes the Central Terminal Area (CTA) — the one-mile roadway area between the parking structures and the eight terminals — through an artful integration of architecture, lighting and graphics. The enhanced CTA is articulated with a polychromatic light ribbon that defines the elevated roadway edge and is modulated with three-dimensional super-graphic terminal identifiers and 91 white sculptural light poles — 13 in the first phase, 91 in total when complete. The renovation will unite disparate components of the CTA, inserting grand gestures that draw from key existing elements, such as the airport’s signature 1960s Theme Building and the entry light pylons, while providing a unifying architectural hierarchy. LAX has a rich history, beginning as the single hangar “Mines Fields” in 1929 and expanding to the present day nine-passenger terminal international airport — and the project team devised a design strategy that honored the past of this ever-evolving transportation center.

The enhancements to LAX provide a revitalized version of one of the world’s most significant transportation hubs that, as Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a 2013 event marking the opening of the Phase I, “celebrates a new era… a Los Angeles that is moving.”

Tom Bradley International Terminal interior improvements and baggage screening facilities

As part of a $576-million modernization project, AECOM provided a conceptual design report for all new information technology and security systems in the terminal. As part of a joint venture, AECOM created a full set of construction bid documents to upgrade these systems, including 24 new telecommunications rooms with interconnecting backbone and fiber, power distribution and UPS, terminal-wide distribution systems and all associated telecommunications infrastructure.

AECOM also provided conceptual layout for LAN/WAN, voice over IP, wireless data network, common use passenger processing systems, baggage message and local departure control systems, passenger messaging, IP television, access control and digital IP CCTV.

AECOM provided project management, engineering and design services for a new $6-million digital, publicly-funded art installation at LAX. Dubbed the “Wow Project,” it includes a 25-screen video wall abutting the concessions area, and an undulating line of 58 back-to-back video screens that snake through the terminal lobby, exhibiting three hours of video imagery to engage passengers and visitors. The digital artwork from 17 different visual artists displays themes of motion and time to tie in with the local moving picture industry.