26
Feb

2015

Photo of the Week: Elevador del Monte de San Pedro

Post by Nick Chu

Image by Panoramio user anguex (all rights reserved).

Photographer:
Photo by Flickr user anguex.

About:
The Elevador del Monte de san Pedro is a 100m inclined elevator located in the northwest Spanish city of A Coruña. First opened in 2007, it connects riders from the waterfront to a city park and has an annual ridership of 250,000.

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.

24
Feb

2015

Cable Car Music Video: Valeno – Mi Teleférico

Post by Nick Chu

As transportation/urban planners, we often look at an assortment of statistics (i.e. ridership, availability, revenue miles etc) to determine whether a transit system has been a success (or not).

But no matter how hard you analyze these numbers, a music video that was made specifically about your transit system; and one that has been watched over 2,000 times in just a few months, is probably as good a measurement of success as anything else.


If this song were to teach us anything, it’s that the new urban cable cars in La Paz means a lot to locals and the city.

In fact, in other cable car music video-related news — in case you ever wanted to shoot your own cable car video, it’s probably best to ask for permission first or you might find yourself sparking some local headlines as a Peruvian songstress recently did.

21
Feb

2015

Weekly Roundup: Bursa Gondola Reaches Milestone; Promotional Video for Fringe Hill Gondola

Post by Nick Chu

Bursa Gondola. Image from Leitner (all rights reserved).

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

Fringe Hill Gondola (New Zealand)
With the help of a little aerial drone, project proponents in Nelson, New Zealand have created an incredible promotional video for their proposed gondola system. The video, which took four months to make and has more than 1000 hits already, really captures what riders may experience one day. Other gondola proposals could definitely learn a few lessons from this video.

Tizi-Ouzou Téléphérique (Algeria)
The Tizi-Ouzou Cable Car has been hit with delays as oppositional locals and landowners have slowed down construction efforts. This cable car is located in the city’s north and is 6km long with 6 stations connecting a bus station (Bouhinoune) to a mausoleum (Sidi Belloua in Redjaouna).

Bursa Monocable Gondola (Turkey)
The Bursa Gondola, the world’s longest monocable system (9km; 139 cabins; 44 towers), has officially carried more than half a million passengers since it opened last year in June. Recently the third section of the lift opened for passenger service which allows riders to reach the Uludağ Mountain range in just 22 minutes. The mountains are popular for vacations and recreational activities.

19
Feb

2015

Cable Car Photo of the Week: Vinpearl Cable Car

Post by Nick Chu

IMG_5951 - Version 2

Vinpearl Cable Car. Image by Flickr user Kevin Ryan (all rights reserved).

Photographer:
Photo by Flickr user Kevin Ryan.

About:
Located in the coastal city of Nha Trang in Vietnam, the Vinpearl Cable Car connects passengers to Vinpearl Resort via a 12 minute, 3.3km ride. It is considered one of the world’s longest sea crossing gondolas.

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.

18
Feb

2015

Maximum Travel Speed for a Cable Car

Post by Nick Chu

We recently received a great question from reader Roberto:

I was wondering what is the maximum speed now registered in the world for a cable car. So far I know, reversible cable cars (43 kph, Portland, USA) go faster than the well known loop cable cars (27 kph, Val d’Isère, France), which is not clear to me why. If you could also explain this issue, that would be great. Thank you in advance.

By the way, what can we expect in the near future for maximum speeds?

These are great questions Roberto. To start, it’s important to remember that Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) can be broken down into top-supported and bottom-supported systems. For bottom-supported systems, the fastest cable technology are funiculars which can travel at maximum speeds of 14 m/s (50km/h).

For top-supported systems such as the Aerial Tram and Gondola, maximum speeds are 12.5m/s (45km/h) and 8.5m/s (30km/h) respectively. Maximum gondola speeds as high as 9 m/s are rumoured but not confirmed.

Why detachable gondolas (“loop cable cars”) travel at lower maximum speeds is partially related to issues of design and economics. For a detachable gondola to reach higher speeds, it would require enormous stations to accelerate and decelerate cabins.

For most gondola systems — which travel in relatively short distances — the increase in speeds would only result in marginal time savings but result in much greater station costs, energy demands, system wear and tear, and etc etc. Aerial trams in comparison, are fixed-grip systems. They simply come to a full stop in a station which enables them to travel at higher maximum speeds. Also, aerial trams typically use larger cabins which are able to provide greater comfort and stability during high speed operations.

As for the future, high speed cable test facilities have reportedly designed ropeways operating at speeds of 18m/s (65km/h). While this is exciting, it’s important to note that before maximum speeds change, it must meet a series of stringent technical and legal requirements to ensure maximum passenger safety.


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Got a technical question about ropeways you want answered? Send your questions to 
gondola (at) creativeurbanprojects (dot) com in the subject heading and we’ll try to answer it.

17
Feb

2015

Assessing Intangibles in Transport Planning — Recreation, Chocolates & Proposals

Post by Nick Chu

Tourist riders on Medellin’s Metrocable. Image by Flickr user Juan Pablo Buritica.

As far as most transportation planners are concerned, urban transit systems should be evaluated based on major “function-related” items only (i.e. level of service, capacity, travel times, speeds, costs and etc).

Such an analysis is appropriate in transit applications if the only objective is to move users from point A to point B in the fastest and most cost-effective way possible. And in many instances, this is undoubtedly an important factor.

However, as astute readers know, debates on form vs function are often much more complicated than that — especially when “form-related” items are accounted for.

Factors such as experience and fun (novelty) are perhaps some of the biggest intangibles. For example, due to a cable car’s aerial nature, it often is a visible piece of infrastructure that provides passengers with panoramic views. In turn, this has the ability to improve ride experience, open up advertising partnerships and/or attract tourist riders.

While some of these items can be properly quantified in a study (i.e. sponsorship dollars), others such as the “fun” factor may be more challenging to address.

For instance, last week we reported that the Emirates Air Line cable car was offering romantic joint-ticket packages for Valentines Day. This week, we learned that the system transported over 25,000 passengers over the 4-day promotion period (nearly double the ridership over same period last year) while a marriage proposal took place in a private cabin.

Melanie, the lucky lady who was proposed to, was quoted saying:

“This was the most perfect moment just us, 100 feet up in the air surrounded by the awe of the London Skyline and with beautiful love songs serenading us. This moment we will remember forever. Waiting for sundown we took our return journey, now engaged and calling each other fiancé, the love songs continued to play as the sky went dark the lights of London came on and we enjoyed our chocolates absorbing the stunning scene. Richard pulled off a proposal beyond my wildest dreams.”

Something as simple (or as special) as the feasibility for a marriage proposal and dating event would be likely be lost in a traditional transport analysis because it’s beyond the purview of “transportation”.

But if you think about it, in many instances transportation is much more than simply getting from one place to another. Designed properly, it can be an integral part of a city that adds flavour and excitement to our lives.

So as transit plays a bigger role in everyday life for city residents, perhaps transport planners should start asking not only how public transport can move us around the city, but also how its intangibles can add character and open up opportunities for more “fun”.

13
Feb

2015

Weekly Roundup: Iraq and India Consider Cable Cars; and Some Pumped Way Up Kicks

Post by Gondola Project

The Vamps, kickin' it in a cable car. (Via YouTube.)

The Vamps, kickin’ it in a cable car. (Via YouTube.)

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

Operation Cable Car (Iraq)
The long-developing Army Canal project in Baghdad—which aims to both restore the 25km waterway and introduce entertainment and tourism elements to the Iraqi capital—may also include a ropeway. Reports indicate that the city is looking for bids to install a cable car, though details about possible route or ridership remain elusive.

Up Above Kolkata (India)
Clever headlines aside, it’s encouraging to see reports that the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) in the state of West Bengal, India is looking at using a ropeway to connect Howrah station to Padmapukur. It looks as though the 4.5km-long system will will go out for tender soon.

Pop Zeitgeist (The Internet)
Earlier this week we were talking about publicity stunts staged in cable cars, and then lo and behold, British boy band The Vamps go and cover Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” while travelling in a cable car.

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