chicago, IL

O'Hare International Airport
Rental Car Facility


City of Chicago


Ross Barney

General Contractor

Austin Power Partners

View going down a ramp in an airport parking garage

Value Delivered

Gibson Electric provided electrical construction and installation services for O’Hare International Airport’s new Consolidated Rental Car Facility (CONRAC).

Gibson utilized cutting-edge project management software to create six- and three- week lookahead schedules, which allowed for agile construction and pull planning. The project schedule was streamlined even further by incorporating significant prefabrication and Building Information Modeling (BIM) during the planning phase. Prefabricated lighting fixtures also eliminated the need for any garbage disposal on-site by the general contractor.

Additionally, roughly 42 percent of Gibson’s budget was done with disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) participation and partnering.

Client Objectives

The City of Chicago initiated the CONRAC project in order to reduce congestion around the terminals of their busiest airport.

The multi-modal transportation center consolidated approximately 4,200 rental car parking spaces, converted thousands of uncovered spaces to covered, and incorporated an advanced park assist system in public areas to help drivers locate open spaces quickly. The facility is tied to the Chicagoland’s Metra Train system and added a new bus plaza in order to better integrate public and private hotel transportation to the airport.

Estimates suggest that the CONRAC will eliminate approximately 1.3-million vehicle trips annually. Over 20 years, this will result in the reduction of between 50,000 and 100,000 greenhouse gas carbon emissions, which is roughly equivalent to planting a 20,000-acre pine forest.


During the project, Gibson delivered a wide array of construction solutions for the CONRAC, including:

  • Design-assist services, including switchboard sizing, panel circuiting and development, and full BIM modeling
  • Smart wireless lighting control system for parking areas, which provides end-user instant reports on functionality of all lighting from one central location
  • Lighting control to monitor daylight harvesting and all fixture usage, over a 3.2-million-square-foot facility
  • Fire alarm, security, signage, heat trace, and electrical vehicle charging systems
  • State-of-the-art park assist system, designed to help drivers find empty spaces and quickly locate their vehicles
  • Fiber optic backbone and data system

The total electrical and systems installation involved:

  • Over 7,000 LED light fixtures
  • Over 420,000 feet of conduit
  • Over 2,450,000 feet of electrical cable

Client Background

For decades, Gibson has worked with the City of Chicago, providing them a variety of services for public and governmental projects. This project was won on a competitive bid process and is part of larger federal super project, also encompassing the expansion of O’Hare’s automated transit system (ATS).

O’Hare International Airport, is one of the world’s busiest airports and sees over 100 million passengers pass through its terminals annually.