Challenge brought together dozens of participants across the firms to create innovative concepts for next-generation vertiport facilities, with team Europe ultimately being named the winner
Ferrovial Vertiports, a subsidiary of leading global infrastructure operator Ferrovial, and AECOM, the world’s trusted infrastructure consulting firm, today announced they recently hosted a Vertiport Design Challenge that tasked two teams of professionals from within their organizations with creating design concepts that maximize efficiency, convenience, and sustainability for air transport hubs known as vertiports. Vertiports are a crucial component of helping to transform urban mobility by providing the necessary infrastructure for electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (eVTOLs).
The challenge saw two, twelve-person teams meet in both Madrid and Miami to create innovative designs for these next-generation facilities, which will serve as the takeoff and landing sites for eVTOL operators planning to offer intra- and inter-urban air transport for passengers within the next few years, pending regulatory reviews and certification. The teams were comprised of participants from each company with backgrounds in architecture, design, engineering, operations, health and safety, and sustainability, ranging from early career professionals to senior leaders.
In addition, the teams were able to call upon those with expertise within Ferrovial and AECOM for guidance and feedback as the challenge took place. At the end of the competition, they presented their design concepts to a prestigious panel of experts including Ferrovial Airports CEO, Luke Bugeja, AECOM’s global transportation business line chief executive, Jennifer Aument and global buildings + places business line chief executive, Sean Chiao, with team Europe ultimately being named the winner.
The rest of the Jury panel:
- Martin Bechthold, PhD: Co-Director of the Master in Design Engineering Program, Harvard University
- Dimitris Bountolos Chief Information Officer, Ferrovial Group
- Angel Paris: Director of the Master in Aeronautical Systems, Polytechnic University, Madrid
- Fidel Saenz de Ormijana : Chief Technical Officer, Ferrovial Group
- Gonzalo Velasco: Director of Business Plan and Innovation, Ferrovial Airports
Marking criteria included sustainability, construction, passenger flow, integration, operation, innovation, business orientation and future-proof design. The scoring competition was extremely tight between the two groups, and it is anticipated that Ferrovial Vertiports will incorporate the best of both design solutions in the final detailed packages.
“Congratulations to team Europe on a very close but for a well-deserved victory based on its truly innovative designs and thanks to team United States for making it a true competition with its great ideas,” said Kevin Cox, chief executive officer of Ferrovial Vertiports. “We assembled talented teams with diverse perspectives, expertise, and experience – including younger-generation professionals who will be among the primary consumers of this technology for decades to come – who came up with creative and practical solutions that will be incorporated into our designs. These ideas and concepts will help us to develop adaptable vertiports that integrate seamlessly into communities and existing transportation systems to offer residents and visitors the benefits of significantly reduced travel times and a convenient, sustainable new mode of transport.”
Design requirements the teams took into consideration included low dwelling and curb-to-gate times; convenient passenger flows; noise abatement materials and solutions; expandability and flexibility, including being agnostic to serve multiple eVTOL business models; airspace compatibility; eVTOL performance optimization; sustainable construction and operations; and regulatory compliance.
“The design challenge was an inspiring event, not just for the participants but also for the team leaders, advisors, and jurors who came together with the common goal of achieving a new era of urban and regional mobility,” said Bane Gaiser, chief executive of AECOM’s U.S. East and Latin America region. “We were energized to work with our Ferrovial colleagues to develop breakthrough ideas for designing and building vertiports that will enhance eVTOL air service, helping to realize its vast potential for communities. Since these vertiports will be among the first of their kind, we are especially excited to contribute to the dawn of a new, sustainable form of transportation. We are proud of our strong partnership with Ferrovial, and it was gratifying to see our teams complement each other in finding solutions that will help advance air mobility in cities around the globe.”
Ferrovial’s vertiport network will focus on key markets in the United States and Europe.