Airport Transit Connection: Central Mobility Hub

Want to learn more about our vision for airport connections and the Central Mobility Hub? Read the new Comprehensive Multimodal Corridor Plan.



The Airport Transit Connection: Central Mobility Hub project will create a reliable, direct, and convenient transit link to San Diego International Airport and connect the region’s many transportation options in one area. 

Initial phases of work will focus on a future Airport Transit Connection to enable people from all over the region to access the airport through efficient and reliable public transit. This Airport Transit Connection will eventually link to San Diego’s urban core as well, with transit options including Rapid and local bus services, Trolley, shuttles, regional rail, and biking and walking infrastructure all meeting in the heart of San Diego.  

These connected transportation options will make it easier for people to navigate the region – including access to the airport – without relying on a car.  

With an improved Airport Transit Connection, residents and visitors will enjoy:

  • Convenient transport directly to airport terminals and local amenities.
  • Equitable and reliable options for connection to San Diego’s urban core to the surrounding region.
  • A safer, cleaner region with robust transit connections that connect people to job centers and spur economic growth.

A full list and further information about the concepts proposed to help people access the airport can be found in our Airport Transit Connection Concept Evaluation Study, with appendices included under “Related Documents” in the sections below.    

The Central Mobility Hub is a key part of the 2021 Regional Plan, SANDAG’s blueprint for enhancing our region’s quality of life. The plan calls for a network of Mobility Hubs throughout the region to better connect people to their homes, work, schools, and local destinations. 

Frequently Asked Questions

For decades, San Diego has explored ways to better connect the region to San Diego International Airport. Roads surrounding the airport are congested and transit access is limited. Additionally, air traffic at the airport is projected to increase following the future expansion of Terminal 1, and the number of visitors to the area is expected to increase with the Port of San Diego’s plans for enhancing the waterfront. A quick and convenient transit connection to the airport is needed now more than ever.

With the expansion of the airport’s Terminal 1 and the projected increase in air passengers and vehicular traffic in the surrounding area, a reliable alternative for getting to the airport needs to be developed. We are partnering with our stakeholders who have committed to improving access to the airport to make this project a reality.

SANDAG is exploring the operational benefits of providing different transit modes at a possible Port Transit Center, the existing Santa Fe Depot, and other Downtown locations. SANDAG is coordinating with San Diego Metropolitan Transit Service and North County Transit District regarding transit service at the proposed stops along each route and will continue to explore these options as planning efforts for the Central Mobility Hub continue to advance.

The alignments and configurations for a potential transit connection to the airport will be determined during the environmental and engineering processes. Planning phases have considered above and below ground options. SANDAG will begin the environmental review for the airport connections in late 2023, and there will be opportunities for public input.

SANDAG is currently conducting a Concept Study to analyze several airport transit connection possibilities. Once this study is complete, the environmental review process is anticipated to begin in late 2023. A report including recommended multimodal transportation solutions around San Diego International Airport and surrounding communities is anticipated to be completed in late 2023.

The Central Mobility Hub is one of 31 regional Mobility Hub areas proposed in the 2021 Regional Plan to make it easier for communities to access transit and other shared mobility options.

The precise location of the Central Mobility Hub is not yet determined, and multiple locations will be studied as part of the environmental review process.

SANDAG is currently studying potential routes, stops, and modes of transportation for the airport links – including from Santa Fe Depot, the Port Transit Center at Middletown Trolley Station, and other locations in Downtown San Diego. An automated people mover (APM), Trolley, and improved bus connections are all being evaluated as well.

After this analysis is complete, SANDAG will select a preferred alignment, connection points, and type of transit for the project, which will be included in the environmental review process beginning in late 2023.

In September 2019, the SANDAG Board of Directors approved $40 million in funding for continued analysis of the Airport Transit Connection: Central Mobility Hub concept. The approved components of the study include environmental analysis, preliminary engineering, and complete corridor planning. SANDAG is also exploring federal, state, and local funding options that may be available to fund the project.

SANDAG received community input during the initial environmental review process that began in April 2021, including comments in support of a more central location near Downtown for the Central Mobility Hub that would more equitably serve people traveling to the airport from all areas of the region.

The Port of San Diego headquarters was also suggested during the public comment period, which could provide the opportunity for a transit connection to the airport for Trolley and bus riders, travelers coming from Interstate 5, and those using the airport car rental facility.

In developing and implementing the 2021 Regional Plan, SANDAG collaborated with historically underserved communities, community organizations, and tribal governments to help ensure the plan will guide our region toward a more inclusive and equitable future. As a key objective of the Regional Plan, the Central Mobility Hub and the potential new transit link to the airport will provide more equitable access for all people, regardless of their mode of transportation.

During the environmental review process, which is anticipated to start in late 2023, the public will have several opportunities to provide input. Further opportunities to provide input will be communicated as they become available.