Proposals & Concepts

17
Aug

2018

32km of Urban Gondolas Proposed in Southern Russia

Rendering of Krasnodar Cable Car. Screenshot from 24krasnador YouTube channel.

Chances are you’ve never heard of Krasnodar — a city of 900,000 people that’s located some 1,300km from Moscow and 300km from Sochi.

In recent times, this so-called unofficial capital of the Russian south has been experiencing significant population growth. Between 2007-2017, the city added about 200,000 residents. Today, it is the 16th most populous city in Russia and the 3rd most populous in the country’s Southern Federal District after Rostov-on-Don and Volgograd.

To alleviate traffic congestion and improve transport options, the city’s economic committee released a proposal to build a massive 36km network of urban gondolas in November 2017. Since then, the proposal has been revised to 32km, spread over 12 stations and five lines. If Krasnodar is successful in this endeavour, their urban ropeway network would be the world’s second largest, right behind La Paz who has a final build out length of 32.7km.

32km network of urban gondolas have been designed. Screenshot from 24krasnador YouTube channel.

Given language barriers, it’s difficult to say where the cable cars are travelling to, but it appears that the five lines are planned to connect major activity nodes such as the Gallery-Krasnodar (shopping and entertainment center), the German Village, the Krasnodar stadium and several residential districts.

The proponents believe that they can complete the entire network in just 3.5 – 4 years at a cost of US$150 million (10-12 billion rubles). The current model is set at US$0.50 per ticket, attracting an estimated 35 million passengers per year (approximately 100,000 per day).

While this figure seems high, the ridership numbers wouldn’t be that far-fetched as Mi Teleférico has transported over 135 million since the first cable car line opened in May 2014. This roughly equals to more than 31 million passengers per year.

Gondola system passing through and connecting the new Krasnodar football stadium which was built just two years ago. Screenshot from 24krasnador YouTube channel.

Screenshot from 24krasnador YouTube channel.

In comparison to local data, the city estimates that its current transport network carries over 210 million persons per annum. With the cable car, proponents believe it can reduce traffic loads by 12%, and eliminate 178,000 cars and 105 buses from the road.

Similar to many recent gondola proposals seen in Hollywood, Branson, and Albany, the project lead believes the system can be privately financed and built via a PPP structure. In a news article this week, Krasnodar’s Mayor, Evgeny Pervyshov, appears to be supportive of the project if investors are willing to step up to the plate.

Within Russia, urban gondola technology seems to be finding it stride. So far, Nizhny Novgorod has operated its transit cable lift since 2012 while Moscow should be opening two recreational systems in the short- to mid-term (Sparrow Hills/Luzhniki Stadium gondola and VDNKh Ropeway).



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25
Jul

2018

Media Sensationalism and Gondolas – The Case of Melbourne’s Skyloop Cable Car

AMMI Station is the Melbourne Skyloop cable car’s eastern terminus. With a 3,000 space parking garage, it is designed for commuters to park-and-ride. Image by Caulfield Krivanek Architecture.

In recent gondola news, reports coming from Down Under suggested that a local architect had proposed a US$525 million (AUD$700 million) cable car project for Melbourne’s downtown.

This astronomical number naturally grabbed our attention since half billion dollar transport projects are often associated with major underground subway lines and bridges rather than lightweight ropeway systems. After all, the world’s longest 3S cable car and one of the most expensive ever built — the 7.9km Hon Thom gondola system — was implemented for an estimated US$225 million.

From what we can gather online at the time, the Melbourne system would be designed with standard MDG technology — at a modest length of 2.5km, 4 stations and 1 custom tower. In other words, this would be a fairly standard urban cable car project which should never cost anywhere close to half a billion dollars. Our gut instinct was that someone out there, whether intentionally or not, must have misreported the project.

So to try to get to the bottom of this we decided to contact Robert Caulfield, the proponent behind the proposal.

The Melbourne Skyloop proposal would connect four major nodes throughout the sports precinct and CBD. Image by Caulfield Krivanek Architecture.

Read more



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06
Jul

2018

Hanoi’s Red River Gondola Proposal

Mr. Ngo Manh Tuan, Deputy Director of the Hanoi Department of Transportation wants to carefully assess and evaluate the gondola concept that was submitted this week. Image by elevonic.

The Vietnamese capital of Hanoi has received a proposal to build an urban gondola across the Red River. Based on articles found online (Vietnam Biz, VTN and Moi Truong), the ropeway system is apparently 5km (3mi) in length and is designed to transport 3,500-4,500 persons per hour per direction onboard a fleet of 25/30-passenger cabins. While the technology was not mentioned, the proposed system may likely use 3S technology given the cabin capacities stated and the potential spans required.

The current concept is to have a ropeway travel over the Red River at heights of 50-100m (160-320ft) while connecting Long Bien Bus Station to Gia Lam Bus Station. Proponents hope that the cable car will relieve traffic congestion and reduce cross-river travel times.

The gondola could be a welcome addition to Hanoi as its rapid transit network is highly underdeveloped for a city with 7.5 million residents. At this time, the capital has zero subway lines (the first urban rail line won’t begin trial operations until August) and its public transit network is merely composed of 100 bus routes. Many, if not most, residents still rely upon the city’s five million motorbikes for daily transport.

The motorbikes can be an efficient (and thrilling) way to move about the city, but officials are hoping to ban their use by 2030 in order to reduce environmental and traffic congestion problems. As such, an urban ropeway with its electric propulsion systems and small footprint, could potentially reduce gridlock, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and provide commuters with an alternative mode of transport.

While cable transit solutions have yet to be implemented in Vietnamese cities, the country is already home to some of the world’s most technologically advanced ropeways. In total, the country holds multiple world records which include:

  1. Longest 3S cable car: Hon Thom-Phu Quoc Cable Car at 7.9km
  2. Second longest 3S cable car: Fansipan Legend at 6.3km
  3. Longest continuous MDG: Bana Hills Cable Car at 5.8km
  4. Largest ropeway cabin: Queen Cable Car at 230 persons
  5. Tallest ropeway tower: Queen Cable Car at 188.8m

Vietnam features some of the globe’s most impressive aerial ropeways. These include the Hon Thom 3S (top left), Fansipan Legend (top right), Bana Hills MDG (bottom left) and the Queen Cable Car (bottom left). Images by pduyma, Viwikipediaorg, vtt, and Newone.

Despite the success of these recreational ropeways, the reaction to the Hanoi proposal appears to be mixed at this time. The Hanoi Automobile Transport Association has apparently said that cable lifts are not suitable for public transit while local transport expert, Dr. Nguyen Xuan Thuy, expressed concerns over a ropeway’s ability to reduce traffic congestion. Of course, these comments are expected with any proposal and they appear to be nothing more than a knee-jerk reaction from those who are unfamiliar with the technology.

For professionals who have followed Cable Propelled Transit (CPT), they will know that over 35 public transit gondolas are now operational worldwide while cable cars have been well-documented in terms of its ability to reduce gridlock. For instance, the Mexicable is estimated to have removed 5,800 vehicles from local roadways, while the Mi Teleferico has eliminated the consumption of over 3,000,000 litres of gasoline per year.

Other local experts, such as Dr. Nguyen Huu Nguyen (Urban Planning Association of Vietnam) and Associate Professor Tu Sy Sy (Hanoi University of Transport) have taken a more open-minded position. They have noted the long and proven track record of the ropeway industry, the large capacities of the cabins (nearing the size of a small bus at 25-30 persons) and the ability of ropeways to easily traverse difficult topography. Officials have also acknowledged their wish to objectively assess the submission and determine if the concept is suitable for the city.

With this proposal, Hanoi appears to be the second Vietnamese city to have an urban gondola plan announced publicly. In a separate project last year, a developer in Ho Chi Minh City was unable to advance an aerial lift idea to connect two parks and the Tan Son Nhat international airport. As more Asian cities are now exploring the feasibility of Cable Propelled Transit, the implementation of an urban gondola in Vietnam could help further cement the country as a hub for ropeway innovation.



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21
Jun

2018

Amsterdam is Getting Serious About An Urban Gondola

Rendering of the IJbaan Cable Car. Looking northbound from Minerhaven Station to NDSM Marina Station. Image by UN Studios.

After three years of research, community outreach, and concept development, designs for a 1.5km urban gondola in Amsterdam were released last week. The cable car project has been spearheaded by locals Bas Dekker and Willem Wessels, who appears to have support from the City of Amsterdam, Port of Amsterdam (Dutch: Haven van Amsterdam) and the Amsterdam Transport Region (Dutch: Vervoerregio Amsterdam).

Since the gondola is designed to cross the IJ, Amsterdam’s waterfront, the system has been aptly named the IJbaan (i.e. a cable car is called kabelbaan in Dutch, so IJbaan, presumably means IJ cable car).

Based on the proposed alignment, the ropeway’s northern terminal, NDSM Marina, is located in the Amsterdam-noord borough while the system’s southern terminal, Minerhaven, is located in the Amsterdam-West borough. NDSM Marina Station has been designed as a transport hub with bike facilities, bus connections and an observation deck. Minerhaven Station, on the other hand, has been planned as a neighbourhood plaza complete with a restaurant and bar.

NDSM Marina Station. Image by UN Studios.

While it appears that most online articles has yet to reveal the technology choice, the renderings make it quite clear that the team has chosen a 3S system. Proponents have estimated ride times at 4.6 minutes, travel speeds at 6m/s (21.6km/h) and cabin sizes at 32-37 persons (with enough room to fit 4-6 bicycles). Initial ridership is projected at 4,000 daily passengers while up to 10,000 riders per day may be transported by 2040.

If you feel that you’ve seen the Amsterdam proposal before, you’re not far off. The architects behind the IJbaan, UN Studios, were the team behind the winning proposal for the Gothenburg Cable Car in Sweden. Image by UN Studios.

Along the journey, passengers will travel over three customized towers which have been designed to pay homage to the city’s industrial heritage. Riders will likely get incredible panoramic views of the city’s waterfront as the three towers will be 46m to 136m tall.

If built, the middle tower  (136m) will be one of the tallest ropeway towers in the world — only surpassed by approximately three other systems (e.g. Ha Long Bay Queen Cable Car – 188m, Phu Quoc Cable Car – 160m, and Zugspitze Eibsee Cable Car – 127m).

Compared to other Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) lines, the Amsterdam proposal may very well have the world’s tallest urban cable car tower.

For instance, urban gondolas with tall towers, such as the Emirates Air Line Cable Car and Nizhny Novgorod Cable Car have tower heights of just 90m and 82m respectively.

It appears that the proponents have spent considerable time thinking through the proposal as they’ve designed it to expand to a three-station system in the future.

Phase 1 would see the aforementioned 1.5km connection built between NDSM Marina Station and Minerhaven Station by 2025 while Phase 2 would see the system expand southwest for another ~800m to Hemknoop Station.

Proponents have described the cable car as an “air bridge” with the ability to complement Amsterdam’s goals of not only becoming a hub for urban innovation but to build an all electric public transit system. While the system has been estimated to cost US$105mm (€90mm), this will still be less than building a comparable bridge.

If everything goes according to plan, the cable car will be up and running by Amsterdam’s 750th anniversary in 2025. In total, this means that in Europe alone, nearly 70 urban cable cars have now been proposed on the continent.



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08
Jun

2018

Eleven Kilometers of 3S Gondola Announced in Santo Domingo

A 11km cable car proposal was announced during a groundbreaking ceremony for the Intercity Cibao bus terminal. Image by PresidencyRD.

The capital of the Dominican Republic has revealed their plans to construct the city’s second urban gondola — the Santo Domingo West Cable Car (Spanish: Teleférico de Santo Domingo Oeste).

Unlike the city’s first Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) line — the Santo Domingo Cable Car (Spanish: Teleférico de Santo Domingo) — this new ropeway proposal would result in the construction of a massive 6-station 3S gondola which would span 11km (6.8mi) and connect three municipalities in the city’s westside (i.e. Los Alcarrizos, Santo Domingo Este and Distrito Nacional).

Effectively, the 3S urban ropeway adds to the recent flurry of transportation projects unveiled in Santo Domingo. Some readers might recall that the city’s current gondola was just inaugurated less than three weeks ago. While the first Santo Domingo Cable Car is an impressive system itself, measuring in at 5km (3.1mi)with 4-stations, the proposed 3S will more than double its length.

Officials informed the public that the six stations will be built at Puente Blanco, the Intercity Cibao transport terminal, Monumental Ave, Manoguayabo and Prolongación Ave, Kilometre 9 and Duarte Highway, and Herrera.

Route alignment for 6-station Santo Domingo West Cable Car delineated in teal while the 4-station Santo Domingo Cable Car is drawn in green. The 3S system is designed to connect to the Maria Montez Metro station on Line 2 (Orange Line) at the 3S’ Kilometre 9 station. Image from Listin Diario.

If the Dominican capital builds their tricable system, it would become the world’s longest 3S gondola — surpassing the current record-holder in Vietnam (7.9km Hon Thom 3S) by more than three kilometres (1.9mi)! Image from Sun World Hon Thom Nature Park.

In comparison to other publicly announced cable transit plans, the only other 3S proposal that would come even close to the size and scale of the Santo Domingo West Cable Car would be the 10km 3S gondola proposed in Istanbul. However, little information about this proposal has been available since it was first publicized in December 2015.

For those still learning the ropes, it’s important to note that 3S gondolas are considered the most advanced cable-driven systems today. With two track ropes and one propulsion rope, 3S gondolas have the highest capacities (up to 6,000 pphpd) and highest wind resistance (>100km/h).

Less than twenty 3S gondolas have been built to date though, with the majority of these systems functioning in ski resorts. As such, if the 11km Santo Domingo West Cable Car was successfully implemented, it could have a massive impact within the urban transport industry. Given the Dominican capital’s proximity to large American and Canadian cities, this 3S gondola could be a major demonstration system for North American transit planners.

Precise specifications for the system will be detailed as technical planning work commences. The President, however, announced that the cable car will be fully integrated with the rest of the city’s transit network and will cost less than US$0.50 (25 pesos). Officials hope that the cable car will benefit upwards of 400,000 residents by the time it opens in 2020.



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06
Jun

2018

3S Gondola Being Planned to Connect Moscow Metro

The Russian capital is considering a 3S gondola, similar to that seen in Koblenz (pictured above). The proposal hopes to service two districts which are currently separated by the Khimki reservoir. Image by CUP.

At a recent economic forum in St. Petersburg, Russia, the deputy mayor of Moscow announced that the government is in the midst of planning an urban gondola 15km northwest of the city center. Project proponents are envisioning a 2.3km tricable detachable gondola (TDG/3S) which connects Skhodnenskaya Metro station (Line 7) to Rechnoy Vokzal Metro station (Line 2).

At this time, the Khimki reservoir (Moscow Canal) lies in the middle of the two Metro stations which makes travel between the stations incredibly challenging and time-consuming.

Basically this means it takes up to 45 minutes (10km) by road to travel between Yuzhnoye Tushino District (Skhodnenskaya station) and the Levoberezhny District (Rechnoy Vokzal station) despite the fact that the two areas are just separated by a few hundred meters of water.

Green route illustrates gondola alignment over the Khimki reservoir. Existing transport route via road transport is shown in the blue line. Screenshot from mu24.

With the proposed US$64 million (4 billion rubles) 3S gondola, the city hopes to cut travel times down to seven minutes for an estimated 19,000 daily passengers while reducing the amount of road congestion.

It appears that the system may be built under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) structure where the city is only involved in providing the land for construction. The private sector partner, meanwhile, will be responsible for building and operating the cable car over a 22 year concession. Officials hope to connect the gondola with the rest of Moscow’s transit fare payment system, Troika.

While urban gondolas are still a fairly new concept in modern Russia, Nizhny Novgorod (400km east of Moscow) has operated a river-crossing gondola since 2011 while an upcoming recreational cable car (Vorobyovy Gory to Luzhniki Stadium) is expected to begin commercial service this year in Moscow.

The city and its partners hope that they can open the 3S gondola between Skhodnenskaya station to Rechnoy Vokzal station within three years.



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29
May

2018

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Urban Gondola Set to Return to Yokohama

The proposed Yokohama gondola could look similar to the Lisbon Telecabine which is built alongside the Tagus river in the Park of the Nations district. Image by Nicholas Chu.

Proposals for a 2020 Tokyo Olympics urban gondola was first broached in April 2014 but little information on its alignment and location was available at that time.

This week however, Japan Times announced that a 600m cable transport line is now being planned in Yokohama which connects JR Sakuragicho Station to the Minato Mirai 21 district. If built, Tokyo will join London as the second city in recent memory to construct a gondola system in anticipation of a Summer Olympic games.

Proposed alignment. Image from Hamarepo.

It appears that the city’s Urban Development Bureau released a Request for Proposal in December last year which asked private firms to submit ideas to revitalize the waterfront. A total of ten proposals were submitted which included ideas for water taxis, open top buses and a longer aerial gondola system. However, upon review, city officials chose Senyo Kogyo Co (an amusement operator) to implement the gondola which is designed to travel at heights of up to 40m.

Gondola built in 1989 in Yokohama, Japan. Image from kanaloco.

Interestingly, while the idea of a cable lift might seem novel, the Japanese port city actually built a temporary cable lift back in 1989 as part of the Yokohama Exotic Showcase (YES’ 89).

While it is unclear if this proposal was inspired directly by the Emirates Cable Car in London, the Yokohama system does share some similarities with its English counterpart. This gondola hopes to attract visitors and improve connectivity while using the gondola as a catalyst to spark waterfront revitalization.

At the Mirai Mirao 21 station location, this area is considered the city’s central business district where a number of major attractions are currently operational (i.e. Cosmoworld amusement park, Landmark Tower skyscraper, Cup Noodles Museum and the Red Brick Warehouse shopping center).

If the system is designed well and learns from best practices of previous urban cable cars, the gondola could be a welcome addition and great complementary attraction in Yokohama as the city already attracts a staggering 36.3 million annual visitors.



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