The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners in the US has approved a $4bn plan for transforming Los Angeles International Airport’s (LAX) ground transportation and arrival and departure experience.

The project includes a new automated LAX train to connect passengers to the airline terminals from new facilities at the airport, including a rental car centre, multiple pick-up and drop-off locations for passenger and Metro’s planned Crenshaw Line station at 96th Street/Aviation Boulevard.

The project is aimed at relieving congestion in both the central terminal area (CTA) and on local streets around the airport.

"The LAX train will also improve our local economy as part of our airport modernisation programme."

Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, who also chairs the metro board of directors said: "Today, we are moving one step closer to bringing rail to LAX and building the world-class airport our residents and visitors deserve.

"The automated train to LAX, consolidated rental car centre and new passenger check-in facility will not only save time for travellers, but it will also ease traffic at the airport, on our freeways and in the surrounding neighborhoods. The LAX train will also improve our local economy as part of our airport modernisation programme that will create 40,000 jobs, remodel terminals and dramatically upgrade the passenger experience at LAX."

The vote will also help LAX initiate its landside access modernisation programme to begin the environmental review process in January 2015, the construction of which is expected to start in 2017.

President of the Board of Airport Commissioners Sean Burton said: "This programme will transform how people travel to and from LAX in the future. We are committed to building a system that will relieve congestion, encourage transit use and create a reliable, efficient, time-certain arrival and departure experience for residents and visitors."

The program will include some elements, such as improved access to terminals for passengers, employees and other users of the airport, three stations in the central terminal area connecting to the airline terminals with a convenient pedestrian walkway system, improved customer experience for car renting, new locations for arrival, departure, pick-up and drop-off outside the central terminal area connected to the airport by the LAX Train and convenient parking with direct access to the LAX Train.

Los Angeles World Airports executive director Marie Lindsay said: "This is an important commitment to Los Angeles. The board’s decision today means local residents and visitors to LAX won’t have to wait a generation to benefit from these improvements. Improvements are happening now."