SKYPORT by Gannett Fleming

Inspiring hub seeks to reshape our cities to be cleaner, quieter, simpler, and smarter

With a vision to improve communities and reshape our cities, Gannett Fleming responded to the Uber Elevate Skyport Challenge with an inspiring and powerful concept. Providing the essential connection between the urban mobility of today and tomorrow, our SKYPORT design concept makes Uber’s revolutionary idea of on-demand urban air transportation possible. The SKYPORT is an entirely new urban intermodal hub offering a comfortable, easy-to-navigate space for passengers to access vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft for their daily commutes. It can be built atop or between existing buildings to create convenient air transit routes across cities large and small.

The Gannett Fleming design concept–one of six finalists in the challenge–maximizes passenger comfort and safety while minimizing environmental impacts. Modular and highly flexible, our SKYPORT efficiently links all forms of urban transportation, making cities simpler, quieter, and smarter. The facility was artfully designed to activate a forward-thinking concept that will improve mobility and decrease traffic congestion, enhancing the quality of life in urban environments around the world.

What We Did

Our approach to the SKYPORT design centers around our PAW–an optimized configuration for landings, takeoffs, drone charging, and passenger comfort. The modularity of the design offers flexibility by allowing a PAW to be replicated as many times as needed for the size of the space and anticipated demand. Adaptable to a range of environments and locations, the design features a wire-guided robot that safely rotates a VTOL in place, positioning it as required and enabling efficient movement to and from the final approach and takeoff area. A single PAW can support 52 VTOLs per hour.

To design the SKYPORT, our multidisciplinary team looked at how Uber’s ground-based programs changed our ideas of on-demand mobility. We leveraged our diversified experience solving increasingly more complex and unique problems in the built environment. We looked to nature for inspiration. Through the power of our in-house subject matter experts, we developed a concept that improves our communities by integrating environmentally friendly features, such as renewable energy, sustainable materials, and daylighting, while providing an experience that is intuitive, inviting, and safe.

Key Features

  • Can accommodate both high-demand and low-demand areas, enabling the SKYPORT to serve a variety of environments.
  • Is able to be constructed atop or between existing buildings and expanded or contracted to fit space constraints.
  • Offers the ability to change building materials over time, so they can be modified as technology evolves.
  • Separates people movement from plane takeoff and landing, providing safety for passengers and workers.
  • Features a living wall and structural elements that pierce the building skin, to ease the transition from outside to inside space, while introducing the calming effects of a natural resource in a built environment.

Sustainability Features & Outcomes

  • Incorporates photovoltaic receptors for solar recharging.
  • Uses batteries that can be charged from grid or solar power to recharge the drones, reducing environmental impacts.
  • Space for recharging drones and vehicles.
  • Living wall and ample use of vegetation throughout the space.
  • Prominent use of daylighting techniques to reduce artificial lighting demand.
  • Includes sound walls with overlapping baffles to let the wind pass through, minimizing noise migration during takeoff and landing.

Awards & Recognition

  • 2018 GOOD DESIGN® Award in the transportation category from the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.
OUTCOMES

Anticipated outcomes:

Safe, comfortable access to on-demand urban air transportation.

Decreased traffic congestion and quicker and easier daily commutes.

Efficient, intuitive integration of ground and air movement.

Less pollution, cleaner air, and improved quality of life.