17
May

2019

Gondola Project To Be Featured on CBS News

Post by Gondola Project

A couple of weeks ago Gondola Project founder, Steven Dale was flown by CBS News to Mexico City to explore and comment on that city’s Mexicable cable-propelled transit system and discuss the current state of cable car technology. That interview and segment will air as a part of CBS News’ primetime special NO EXIT! tonight at 9pm ET/PT.

From the CBS News press release:

“The special, produced by the team at CBS SUNDAY MORNING, features stories that highlight everything from scenic drives to crazy commutes, the promise of cars that can lift off the ground and fly over traffic, and some thoughts from comedian Jim Gaffigan who explains why he enjoys traffic. Anchored by Jane Pauley, NO EXIT! features Lee Cowan’s report on how America’s love of freedom and automobiles created the gridlock the country experiences today and what engineers are doing to help eliminate it.”

As an added bonus, Steven had the chance to explore and document the system as a whole and spoke with several people close to the system’s planning, implementation and operations.

Expect a long-form, multi-post review of the system starting next week exclusively on Gondola Project.



Want more? Purchase Cable Car Confidential: The Essential Guide to Cable Cars, Urban Gondolas & Cable Propelled Transit and start learning about the world's fastest growing transportation technologies.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter
16
May

2019

Architect’s Vision for Cable Cars in NYC Demonstrates Complete Lack of Understanding of Cable Cars

Post by Steven Dale

CetraRuddy Cable Car New York City
Arndt Baetzner/Eugene Flotteron/CetraRuddy

Business Insider recently reported on CetraRuddy principal architect Eugene Flotteron’s plan for a cable car system blanketing New York City. The plan is the usual mishmash of a “grand vision” without a shred of technical validity. 

The plan envisions 35 person cabins departing every 15-20 seconds to deliver 5,000 pphpd while travelling at 30 mph and costing just $3 million to $12 million per mile. 

Regular readers will know that only two of those five specifications have merit. The other three are fabrications. 

Beyond the plan’s statistical impossibilities, there are a myriad of other technical problems with the design. Conceptual renderings depict massive, unsupported spans across land and water; a vast number of technically impossible on-tower turns; and single section distances that test the current upper limits of the technology’s capabilities. 

At least one of the renderings depicts all of the above.

This one.
Image by Arndt Baetzner/Eugene Flotteron/CetraRuddy

Business Insider never once questions the validity of the concept all the while implying that building a cable car would somehow be preferable than “trying to wade through the red tape of building additional rail lines.” 

If you think the red tape associated with a known and appreciated technology like rail is difficult. Imagine the complexity of dealing with an unknown and unappreciated technology like cable cars. Just ask the people in Portland

I could get into the technical nitty gritty of why the majority of this plan is technically infeasible, but I’d rather use what remains of my time and space here to focus on the purported “$3 million to $12 million per mile” to construct this. 

Nonsense. 

Maybe if we were talking about a basic monocable system with off-the-shelf components and slim profile stations built in a rural setting that requires only a single landowner’s consent. But we’re not. 

We’re talking about what appears to be a 3S system using custom towers and cabins, crossing one of the busiest urban harbors in the world, in one of (if not the) most complicated bureaucratic environment in North America. 

The lawyers alone are going to cost you $3 million per mile.

By way of comparison — to rebuild the Roosevelt Island Tram (RIT) cost approximately $25 million. I want to reinforce the point that this was for a rebuild. Much of the existing tower and station infrastructure was repurposed. As it was not a new system, permitting was less complicated than it would’ve been had it been a new build. Lastly, the RIT utilizes Aerial Tram technology which is much less complex and therefore much cheaper than the state-of-the-art 3S technology depicted in the CetraRuddy plan. 

The RIT came in at a per-mile cost of over $40 million. And that was a decade ago. 

How then can the CetraRuddy plan cost $3 million to $12 million per mile? It can’t. Full stop. 

Notwithstanding the fact that per-mile cost estimates are a terrible way to estimate cable car prices, there’s no way to build this for seven to thirty percent of the cost of a simpler system built ten years ago in the same jurisdiction. 

Would it be cheaper than the alternatives? Almost definitely, but let’s not set people’s expectations so high that there’s no choice but to disappoint when the rubber hits the road. 

Some might be inclined to discount all of these issues as mere detailsand not to sweat them right now. It’s more important that this thing is visionary. It’s grand. It’s innovative

Except that it’s not. The details matter. If they don’t, what we’re talking about isn’t city building but fiction. As I see it, for something to be grand, visionary and innovative, it’s gotta’ be realistic enough, technically achievable enough and honest enough to warrant further contemplation and consideration. This is none of those things. 

We run into these kinds of situations all the time right now. Someone latches onto the idea of urban gondolas and cable cars in a city and instead of doing the necessary research to develop an idea properly, they learn just enough to get themselves into trouble. 

Meanwhile the salespeople and biz dev departments of the major cable car suppliers look at this and say something to the effect of “yeah there’s no way this can ever get built but at least we’re getting the message out.” 

But what precisely is that message? Is false advertising and empty promises really what we need in this industry?

Cable cars connecting the various boroughs of New York City is about the most logical application of the technology in all of North America. The city is massive, has throngs of tourists and commuters alike and is absolutely strangled by a laughably limited (and constantly congested) number of bottlenecks and chokepoints to get people onto and off of Manhattan island. 

This is a winner of an idea but let’s not present it as a plan to the public before major technical matters are addressed first.

There’s never been more interest in urban gondolas and transit-oriented cable cars in the history of the business. Now’s the time for the industry to strike. But every half-baked idea that comes along promising something the industry simply cannot deliver works at cross-purposes to the goal of implementing cable cars and gondolas as complementary pieces of a multi-modal public transportation system. 



Want more? Purchase Cable Car Confidential: The Essential Guide to Cable Cars, Urban Gondolas & Cable Propelled Transit and start learning about the world's fastest growing transportation technologies.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter
09
Feb

2019

Mexico City Wants to Build 34km (21mi) of Urban Gondolas

Post by Gondola Project

Indio Verdes Station. Image from CDMX.

This week Mexico City’s mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, released details of a massive urban gondola project which is comprised of four lines and 34 kilometres (21 miles). Yes, that’s 34km of ropeways!

Officials estimate that this network, known as the Cablebús, could transport a staggering 117 million passenger trips per year when it is complete. If built, Mexico City may one day be home to the world’s largest network of Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) systems and steal the coveted title away from La Paz’s Mi Teleférico network (estimated to be 32.7km when fully built).

Today, some readers might recall that the region is already home to the 4.7km (2.9mi) Mexicable which opened in 2016.

Route alignment. Image from CDMX.

IPN Station. Image from CDMX.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, the government is taking it step by step. It appears that it has proposed a phase one plan that is split into two lines.

  1. Line 1: Cuautepec – Indios Verdes (7.7km, 5 stations)
  2. Line 2: Santa Catarina – Ermita (Iztapalapa) (1.7km, 2 stations)

Combined, the two urban gondolas will represent a total investment of US$157.2 million (3 billion pesos) resulting in 9.4km (5.8mi) of ropeways and seven stations. Line 1 and Line 2 will be designed with a capacity of 4,000 pphpd and 1,000 pphpd respectively.

La Pastora Station. Image by CDMX.

Campos Revolucion Station. Image by CDMX.

Reports suggest that this new transit system will benefit over 305,000 residents in some of the City’s poorest neighbourhoods where 75% of the local population lives below the poverty line. Ridership is estimated to be 50,000 riders per day for Line 1 and 4,400 riders per day for Line 2.

Officials have also promised to sync the cable car’s operational hours to the subway. In fact, they propose that the ropeways will be opened 30 minutes longer than the subway (6:30am – 12:00am) so that all passengers can safely return home after a day of work.

Cuautepec Station. Image by CDMX.

By soaring over topographical barriers, project proponents hope to not only lower travel times from 80 minutes to 46 minutes but to also shift user demand from polluting modalities and reduce 3,100 tons of carbon dioxide. From a social perspective, officials hope to recreate the positive results seen in other Latin American cable car cities where improved transit connectivity reduces crime rates.

In terms of its timeline, the government is wasting no time to implement this project. The City will partner with the United Nations Office for Project Services to assist with tender work. Contracting is scheduled to start next month and should be complete by May/June. Afterwards, construction will immediately start and the cable car lines will be operational by July 2020.




Want more? Purchase Cable Car Confidential: The Essential Guide to Cable Cars, Urban Gondolas & Cable Propelled Transit and start learning about the world's fastest growing transportation technologies.

Share this:


Share this page via Email


Share this page via Stumble Upon


Share this page via Digg this


Share this page via Facebook


Share this page via Twitter
Cablebús / Installations
Comments Off on Mexico City Wants to Build 34km (21mi) of Urban Gondolas
Comments Off on Mexico City Wants to Build 34km (21mi) of Urban Gondolas
02
Feb

2019

Oakland Athletics Proposes 3S Gondola to New Ballpark

Post by Gondola Project

Jack London Square station. Image by Oakland Athletics.

The Oakland Athletics, a Major League Baseball team, has released its ambitious plans to build a $123 million urban gondola connecting its waterfront stadium to downtown Oakland. 

The three-minute cable car ride has been designed to ease the first / last mile problem for ballpark visitors arriving by public transport on BART trains. At it currently stands, the waterfront stadium and the downtown lacks rapid transit connectivity and is cut off by two highways and a railroad.

Transit riders will hop onto the gondola near the Oakland Convention Centre / 12th Street BART Station before being dropped off at Jack London Square where the stadium will be a short walk away. An independent study estimated that it could attract more than a million visitors and boost tourism in Oakland by approximately 50,000 people.

A single “circular ring tower” adds a bit of architectural flair to the gondola system. Image by Oakland Athletics.

Downtown Oakland Stadium. Image by Oakland Athletics.

A total of $685 million in economic spinoffs could be created with the gondola over ten years through increased taxable sales, construction and operations of the gondola, and reduced travel times. In fact, aside from shuttling baseball fans, the gondola could serve the thousands of commuters who currently work and live near the city’s growing waterfront community. Some online commentators have even suggested that an urban gondola could provide further benefits by extending its alignment to Alameda, a growing and disconnected community located south of the waterfront.

Media reports have indicated that government officials and civic leaders have been positive with the concept — especially because the system will be financed entirely by the private sector. At this time, ticket prices are still under study but season ticket holders may receive free tickets.

From a system performance standpoint, a total of twelve to fourteen 35-person cabins will be used to transport 6,000 persons per hour per direction (pphpd). Construction of the urban cable car will take approximately 18-months and its inauguration is planned to coincide with a 2023 opening of the Howard Terminal stadium.

This gondola system could one day be one of two “baseball stadium gondolas” operating in the United States as the Los Angeles Dodgers are also exploring the feasibility of an urban ropeway.

 



 

Want more? Purchase Cable Car Confidential: The Essential Guide to Cable Cars, Urban Gondolas & Cable Propelled Transit and start learning about the world's fastest growing transportation technologies.

Share this:


Share this page via Email


Share this page via Stumble Upon


Share this page via Digg this


Share this page via Facebook


Share this page via Twitter
Oakland Athletics Gondola / Proposals & Concepts
Comments Off on Oakland Athletics Proposes 3S Gondola to New Ballpark
Comments Off on Oakland Athletics Proposes 3S Gondola to New Ballpark
25
Jan

2019

First Cabins Have Arrived for Haifa’s Urban Gondola

Post by Gondola Project

 

Haifa Urban Gondola. Image from Colbonews.

A little over a year ago, we reported that Haifa’s 4.6km urban gondola proposal was still in the planning and design stage. Fast forward to January 2019, construction is well underway and the first cabins have arrived in the northern Israeli city.

To enhance passenger comfort and safety, it appears that the cabins will be equipped with air conditioning and security cameras. A/C will be important for riders as the end-to-end travel times will be 19 minutes. In terms of aesthetics, the cabins are coloured white at this time but the actual cabins will be blue.

System map. Screenshot from Youtube.

As it stands, the ropeway will connect 6 major activity nodes which include the central bus terminal, Krayot Junction (Check Post), Dori Street, the Technion Israel Institute of Technology (2 stations) and the University of Haifa. Project proponents hope to increase public transit usage by providing a convenient and quick connection for 2 million annual passengers.

This project is worth NIS 330 million (US$90 million) and is a culmination of more than 10 years of planning. Despite the advanced construction stage of the gondola, some citizens asked the city’s new mayor if the project could still be cancelled. In response, the Ministry of Transport explained that the project is at “a point of no return”.

If everything goes according to plan, the system is expected to open for passenger service in March 2020.

Want more? Purchase Cable Car Confidential: The Essential Guide to Cable Cars, Urban Gondolas & Cable Propelled Transit and start learning about the world's fastest growing transportation technologies.

Share this:


Share this page via Email


Share this page via Stumble Upon


Share this page via Digg this


Share this page via Facebook


Share this page via Twitter
09
Jan

2019

Algerian Capital Inaugurates 6th Urban Ropeway

Post by Gondola Project

Bab El Oued – Z’ghara Cable Car. Image by El Biar Alger.

It didn’t take long before the first urban gondola of 2019 was inaugurated.

On January 2nd, the Algerian neighbourhoods of Bab El Oued, Celeste Village and Z’ghara in Algiers became the recipient of a new 2km, 3-station aerial ropeway.

Built with a maximum line speed of 5.5m/s, and sixty-six 10-person cabins, the system can transport up to 2,400 persons per hour per direction (pphpd). A trip on the monocable detachable gondola (MDG) will take 7 minutes and will operate 13 hours in the winter and 19 hours daily in the summer. A single fare has been priced at 30 DA (US$0.25) — that’s 20 DA less than a Metro ride.

Bab El Oued – Z’gahara Cable Car. Photo by El Biar Alger.

Bab El Oued – Z’gahara Cable Car. Photo by El Biar Alger.

Due likely to language barriers and its geographic location, Algeria and its capital, Algiers, is often an underrated player when it comes to Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) systems. To put it into perspective, the Bab El Oued – Z’ghara Cable Car is now the 6th urban ropeway constructed in Algiers! Arguably, only La Paz’s Mi Teleferico can claim that it has more operational ropeways in a city.


For those unfamiliar with Algiers, existing ropeway systems include the Madania Cable Car, Our Lady of Africa Cable Car, Memorial Cable Car, Palace of Culture Cable Car and the Bouzareah Oued-Koriche Cable Car.

All of these cable lifts are short, 2-station aerial trams except for the Bouzareh Oued-Koriche Cable Car which is a 2.9km, 3-station monocable. Perhaps even more impressive is that Algiers can be considered a pioneer in the industry as it first deployed an urban ropeway (Madania Cable Car) in 1956!

Reports indicate that the aerial lift will be managed and operated by the Algerian Cable Transport Company (ETAC).



Want more? Purchase Cable Car Confidential: The Essential Guide to Cable Cars, Urban Gondolas & Cable Propelled Transit and start learning about the world's fastest growing transportation technologies.

Share this:


Share this page via Email


Share this page via Stumble Upon


Share this page via Digg this


Share this page via Facebook


Share this page via Twitter
Bab El Oued - Z'ghara Cable Car / Installations
Comments Off on Algerian Capital Inaugurates 6th Urban Ropeway
Comments Off on Algerian Capital Inaugurates 6th Urban Ropeway
29
Dec

2018

Colombian Capital Opens First Urban Gondola – TransMiCable

Post by Gondola Project

TransMiCable was inaugurated on December 27, 2018. Image from IDU Bogota.

After more than two years of waiting, residents of the Ciudad Bolivar District in Bogota can finally rejoice as the City’s first urban gondola – TransMiCable – has started commercial operations.

First proposed by Mayor Enrique Peñalosa, the project is the culmination of more than 10 years of planning and design. Initial tender contracts were signed in July 2015 and construction began in September 2016.

The 3.34km ropeway is built with four stations and is projected to benefit 700,000 residents living in some of the city’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. Officials hope that the 80,000 residents living within proximity to the cable car will choose the gondola as its number one mobility option. 

The US$73 million (COP 240 billion) system is expected to reduce travels by up to 50 minutes. Previously, commuters spent up to 1 hour travelling on congested buses and winding roads but the cable car will cut journey times to just 13 minutes! As the cable car is directly linked to the city’s famous BRT system, the TransMilenio, passengers can transfer from the Portal of the Tunnel station and travel with ease into the city center. 

With a capacity of 3,600 pphpd, the TransMiCable is built with one of the highest capacities for an urban gondola. Compared to other commuter ropeways, only the Purple Line and the Blue Line Sky in La Paz, Bolivia have a larger capacity at 4,000 pphpd. The system has 163 10-person cabins built with folding seats. This allows passengers to easily bring in baby strollers, bicycles and wheelchairs. The cabins also have solar panels, which help power security cameras and telecommunication systems.

The cable car offered free rides for two days before beginning commercial operations on December 29, 2018. Image by Kienyke.

The cable car will operate for nearly 18 hours per day from 4:30am to 10:00pm between Mondays – Saturday and 5:30am – 9:30pm on Sundays/Hoildays. Image by IDIPRON.

Not so dissimilar to the other urban gondolas in Latin America, the cable lift has been constructed as part of a larger social redevelopment project. Stations are not merely utilitarian stations built for transport, rather they are designed with gardens, parks, public squares and libraries.

To be able to integrate the system into the daily life of the locals, the project spent a considerable amount of time educating residents about the benefits of the cable car. Officials reached out to a more than 19,000 students as part of large-scale stakeholder engagement sessions.

Priced at only US $0.70 (COP 2300) — the same cost as a TransMilenio ticket — the system is meant to be affordable to all users. Transfers between the bus system and the cable car will be free except for riders transferring from a zone blue line. To make the system even more accessible, users with the Tullave smart card are eligible for even more discounts.

Overall, the TransMiCable builds on the success of the other urban ropeways in Colombia and Latin America. Domestically, Bogota becomes the fourth Colombian city to construct an urban gondola after Cali, Manizales and Medellin. Within Latin America, TransMiCable is now the 23rd line in the region!



Want more? Purchase Cable Car Confidential: The Essential Guide to Cable Cars, Urban Gondolas & Cable Propelled Transit and start learning about the world's fastest growing transportation technologies.

Share this:


Share this page via Email


Share this page via Stumble Upon


Share this page via Digg this


Share this page via Facebook


Share this page via Twitter



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

TransMiCable
Comments Off on Colombian Capital Opens First Urban Gondola – TransMiCable
Comments Off on Colombian Capital Opens First Urban Gondola – TransMiCable