8 March 2002
Detroit airport trams move on air
Detroit, Mich. - Two 35-ton, elevated Express Trams that glide silently on a cushion of air are the centerpiece of a $68 million vertical and horizontal transportation system installed at Northwest Airlines' new Edward H. McNamara Terminal at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
Detroit Metropolitan Airport's Express Tram
Otis Elevator photo
Built by Otis Elevator Co., a United Technologies Corp. unit, the driverless, pollution-free automated trams provide passengers rapid transportation the length of the one-mile-long, futuristic $1.2 billion passenger terminal. Otis President Stephen F. Page said it is the only indoor, above-ground system of its kind in the world. Otis also installed 58 elevators, 57 escalators and 42 moving walkways at the new terminal.
Using Otis' Hovair technology, the trams rest on a cushion of air, rather than wheels, allowing them to travel silently on an elevated track 20 feet above the floor. Each tram is 112 feet long and can transport up to 4,000 passengers per hour in each direction, or nearly 200,000 people per day.
Otis has been in the global shuttle business for more than 20 years. Other Otis' major installations are at the J. Paul Getty Center in Los Angeles, Narita Airport near Tokyo, the Delta Air Lines terminal in Cincinnati, and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
New systems are under construction at Huntsville Hospital in Alabama and at Unique Airport in Zurich, Switzerland.
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