16
Sep

2014

Emergency Response Cable Car: Alto Hospicio and Iquique, Chile

Post by Nick Chu

Post by Mauricio Miranda.

Throughout the world, Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) technology is already being employed in countless innovative ways. But a new project in Chile has the potential to add another application to that list.

The country’s government is looking to build a cable car system that would serve as an emergency-response tool in an area prone to seismic activity.

Rendering. Image from Latercera.

Rendering of proposed cable car connecting Alto Hospicio ad Iquique. Image from Latercera.

The idea itself has been debated for a decade, but like many infrastructure projects, it became a highly politicized topic. However, a particularly powerful earthquake this past spring off the coast of Chile highlighted just how fragile the connectivity between the northern towns of Alto Hospicio and Iquique is.

This is an area that constantly suffers from very strong seismic events. And what makes it even worse for Iquique is that its only ground access depends on the Autopista Alejandro Soria, a narrow 10-kilometre road that connects it to Alto Hospicio. The road has already sustained damage along the entire stretch, and any further deterioration could leave Iquique in total isolation.

Here’s a look at the condition of the road this past April:

Image from 24horas.cl

Image from 24horas.cl

Iquique has 90,000 residents and, according to Chilean urbanists, more than 40% of Iquique’s urban development is in a flood risk area. Experts claim that a massive earthquake with an epicentre in the region  could critically damage their entire road network. Such an event would likely cut citizens off from common services and necessities, putting the whole city on a extreme state of alert.

Map of Alto Hospicio and Iquique.

Map of Alto Hospicio and Iquique.

The Chilean government strongly believes that a $40 million USD cable car system is the best option for providing emergency response services should such a catastrophe occur, as well as a way of offering better public transit and increasing local tourism. It’s worth noting that other cable car systems have already been built to withstand and meet these demanding conditions.

For example, the Portland Aerial Tram is designed to exceed US Seismic standards. Image by Flickr user Jeramey Jannene.

So despite the years of debate, the idea of the Iquique-Alto Hospicio cable car remains very popular — the community wants it and the government is ready to fund it. Recently, Chilean president Michelle Bachelet officially included it in the budget for her Infrastructure, Development and Inclusion plan.

Overall, this Chilean cable car is truly fascinating concept. While I have never heard of cable cars being used for disaster relief, should this system prove successful I suspect that we may see many more emergency response gondolas in the future.

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12
Sep

2014

Weekly Roundup: Medellin’s Mayor Announces City’s Third Metrocable (Urban Cable Car Line)

Post by Nick Chu

View of Medellin from El Picacho – Image by Flickr user Omar Uran.

A quick look at some of the things that happened this week in the world of urban gondolas, cable cars and cable propelled transit:

  • Curo, the developers for a new suburb in Bath, England have reportedly revealed renderings for their cable car development plans. These designs were created after a year of community meetings and workshops. The cable car will link Foxhill to the city centre. Detailed plans can be viewed this weekend at the St. Andrew’s Community Church.

 



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11
Sep

2014

Cable Car Photo of the Week: Roosevelt Island Tram

Post by Nick Chu

Roosevelt Island Tram. Image by Flick user Paul Weber.

Photographer: 

Photo by Flickr user Paul Weber.

About:

Every Thursday, the Gondola Project team will select stunning captures of CPT lines. We hope this will continue to bring more attention to the technology and provide visually impactful examples of cable car systems worldwide. If you’d like to submit or nominate a picture for our “Photo of the Week”, we’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or send us an email at gondola@creativeurbanprojects.com.



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09
Sep

2014

Ropeway Simulator 2014

Post by Nick Chu

Ropeway Simulator 2014.

Perhaps as a testament to the growing popularity of cable cars and gondolas amongst our youth, Astragon Software recently released a video game called Ropeway Simulator 2014. The game takes you through the experience of building and managing your very own ropeway! Players are allowed to choose from up to 10 different types of lifts.

While I desperately would like to play this game, it unfortunately is not available for Mac users. So until I can find my old PC, I can only based my comments from online descriptions.

After quickly watching a Youtube review by Mr Black Plays, it seems like the game is a test of your mouse clicking abilities. Once a player chooses their area of interest, they’re required to meticulously pinpoint and select tower locations and adjust its height, curvature and base angle.

Screenshot from MrBlackPlays.

Tower adjustments. Screenshot from MrBlackPlays.

After the correct adjustments are made, you’re finally allowed to build your ropeway and start transporting your guests! Whoo-hoo!

Since the Youtube clip only shows a small segment of gameplay, I imagine that later stages would be even more difficult.

One limited feature I notice immediately is that you are only allowed to choose from two ropeway settings: summer and winter. Perhaps if this game is popular enough, I hope that the developers will introduce a third environment, urban/city, in their next release.

And if this game is anything remotely similar to game simulators from my days as a child (i.e. Sim City 3000, Roller Coaster Tycoon), then Ropeway Simulator could possibly be the breeding ground for the next generation of ropeway planners!

Now all I have to do is find that old Toshiba laptop of mine. Happy gaming.

 



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06
Sep

2014

Weekly Roundup: Teleférico Bicentenario (Urban Cable Car) in Santiago, Chile Announced for Completion by 2018

Post by Nick Chu

Teleférico Bicentenario. Image from Ciudad Empresarial.

A quick look at some of the things that happened this week in the world of urban gondolas, cable cars and cable propelled transit:



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02
Sep

2014

Mt. Roberts Tramway: Gliding Above Juneau

Post by Nick Chu

This is a guest post by Billy Beasley.

The Cabin

Mount Roberts Tramway. Image by Billy Beasley.

Juneau, Alaska is a city perched between ocean waters and sharply sloped mountain peaks. Due to this position, it is situated in one of the most scenic locations possible for a cable lift. The Mt. Roberts Tramway runs from the city’s waterfront to Mt. Roberts above.

Although the tram was built purely for tourists, it still offers some lessons for urban gondolas. The tram is a 60 passenger Poma system with a capacity of 1,050 people per hour and a total length of 3,087 feet (~1km). It is only about a five minute ride but it quickly ascends 1,800 feet in those five minutes – compared to the 3,300 foot length and 500 foot vertical rise of another Northwest ropeway, the Portland Tram.

Cabin Entering Top Station. Image by Billy Beasley.

Cabin Entering Top Station. Image by Billy Beasley.

The Mt. Roberts Tramway uses a continuous haul rope loop, meaning that both cabins ride on one haul rope instead of two and that the haul rope goes around a bulked up bullwheel similar to those found on gondola lifts. The haul rope changes direction to take the cabins up or down.

Unlike many cable lifts, this tram system doesn’t have any towers, just a bottom station and top station.

The Top Station

Top station cantilevering off side of Mount Roberts. Image by Billy Beasley.

The top station is one of the most unique found on any tram. Since there was no flat place to locate the top station without extending it up into the fragile alpine areas, the top station was built into the side of the mountain. At 165 feet tall, the station towers into the sky and also houses a 3,000 square foot viewing platform, restaurant, gift shop and movie theatre. Over 200 tons of steel had to be airlifted by helicopter during construction because there was no other way to haul the steel up.

In many urban cable car projects, there is no clear location to put a station because of its size or geographical constrictions – and in these situations, a station could be built with the same methods that were pioneered at the top station of the Mt. Roberts Tramway.

The possibilities in the urban context are endless but perhaps one could imagine a cable car anchored between two skyscrapers, soaring above a park/open space or cantilevering off the side of a valley.

 

 

Once visitors are at the top, there are a host of activities including hiking the nearby trails, grabbing a bite and/or visiting the nature center.

The bottom station is less of an engineering feat but still offers lessons to urban gondolas. The bottom terminal is noticeably low profile and it blends in seamlessly to downtown Juneau and the cruise ship docks. The tram is one of the first things that people see when they get off of the cruise ship and those visitors provide big business to the tram. The tram’s hours are actually built to correspond to cruise ship arrival and departure times.

The Tram Cabin Going Out of the Station

Bottom Station. Image by Billy Beasley.

Future urban gondolas would be well served by looking at the integration of the Mt. Roberts Tramway into the waterfront district and applying these best practices to commercial or cruise ship ports. The tram is steeped in Native American heritage, as the two cabins are named for the native Tlingit words for Eagle and Raven and the cable car honors the traditions of Native Americans in the Juneau area.

The Cabin in the Bottom Station

Raven Cabin. Image by Billy Beasley.

When visitors are done with the ride, it’s a brief walk back to the ship, into downtown, or to a nearby salmon processing and packaging plant.

In case you’re interested, you can follow this link for more information.

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29
Aug

2014

Weekly Roundup: Creative Marketing Strategies Around La Paz’s Red Line (Linea Roja)

Post by Nick Chu

A quick look at some of the things that happened this week in the world of urban gondolas, cable cars and cable propelled transit:



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