Thoughts

28
Jan

2015

La Paz Announces 6 New Cable Car Transit Lines, Leaves Developed World in the Past

Linea Roja in La Paz, Bolivia. Image by Flickr user David Almeida.

Linea Roja in La Paz, Bolivia. Image by Flickr user David Almeida. (Creative commons.)

Forgive the pun, but with yesterday’s announcement of six new cable transit lines for La Paz, Bolivia, the developing world continues to show that it is actually capable of developing new transportation projects, whereas the developed world seems to be capable of little more than resting on the laurels of what was developed generations ago. 

Consider the Bolivian situation:

Not more than two years ago, the country announced three new cable car lines with a total distance of around 12 kilometres spread across 11 stations. Those three lines were all operational by the end of last year. This new announcement will add an additional 21 kilometres of lines distributed over 23 stations — all of which, presumably, will be built in the same speedy manner.

When completed, the system as a whole will offer a level of capacity beyond that of the average North American tram or streetcar, as well as wait times of seconds between vehicles — at a fraction of the price of other standard modes.

I have no desire here to get into a debate on the merits of cable propelled transit systems versus things like streetcars and light rail — pick whichever you like and built it.

But the key here is this: You’ve gotta actually build it. Read more



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.

21
Jan

2015

Temporary Cable Cars: Where Are They Now?

Bundesgartenschau 2005 in Munich,. Image via Wiki commons.

Bundesgartenschau 2005 in Munich. Image via Wiki commons.

One of the biggest advantages of CPT technology, is that it’s relatively easy to relocate a system, or parts of a system, to another location — sometimes for an entirely different purpose. While it’s not unheard of to see decommissioned subway cars get recycled (the TTC in Toronto recently sent some cars to Nigeria), you can effectively decommission any CPT and then relocate it anywhere in the world

Here are a couple examples of this type of relocations.

Floridaebahn in TK. Image by Flickr user Jean Jones. (Creative commons.)

Floridae Bahn in Venlo, Netherlands. Image by Flickr user Jean Jones. (Creative commons.)

Floridae Bahn (Netherlands)
Built as part of the 2012 World Horticultural Expo in Venlo, Netherlands, this 1.1 km, two station system was dismantled that same year and shipped over to Silvretta Montafon, one of the largest Austrian ski resorts.

Rostock Sielbahn, 2003. Image by Arnold Schott (Wiki commons).

Rostock Sielbahn, 2003. Image by Arnold Schott (Wiki commons).

Sielbahn Rostock/Sielbahn Munich (Germany)
Another temporary construction for a flower show, the three-station Sielbahn system transported visitors around the site of the 2003 Federal Horticultural Show in Rostock, Germany. From there, it was moved to Munich for the 2005 edition of that same event. Over the course of the 13 total months that the Sielbahn was operational in both cities, the system moved close to 2 million passengers. After Munich, the system components were dismantled and sold for use in ski lifts in the US, Austria, and elsewhere in Germany.



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.

20
Jan

2015

Is Your (Gondola) Project Successful?

Dark Tunnel
Who knows. I certainly don’t.

It’s a question we get all the time. Is such-and-such a project a success? Is it going to be a success? Why was this project a success? Why was that project a failure?

Again: Who knows. I certainly don’t.

Success is one of those awful words that sounds great but means virtually nothing.

To measure success, one first has to know the intentions and strategic goals underlying the project. That goes not just for gondolas but any project.

That may seem blatantly obvious to some, but is too often completely outside of the debate when it comes to major infrastructure projects. Too often we focus on what we are building, instead of why we are building it. 

But that’s only half the problem. Another significant obstacle is that not everyone’s strategic goals are the same. Again — totally obvious to some but all too often missing from public debate about our infrastructure needs.

What’s worse is when the intentions are unintentionally miscommunicated or — even worse again — intentionally obscured. That’s why there’s such a debate about things like London’s Emirates Air Line. Everybody seems to think they know why it shouldn’t have been built, but know one really seems to know why it actually was built.

There’s a difference there, and an important one at that.

When you know the reason something was built, it’s far easier to measure whether it was a success or a failure.

In fact, there’s no other way.



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.

14
Jan

2015

Going… Across? The Future of Elevators is Here

MULTI elevator. Image courtesy of ThyssenKrupp.

MULTI elevator. Image courtesy of ThyssenKrupp.

From mobile devices to urban planning, space is always at a premium. Ever-smaller devices like smartwatches are able to do infinitely more than the average home PC of a decade ago, while developers are stacking compacted living quarters higher and higher into the sky. Minuscule gadgetry has existed for centuries; the very idea of vertical living, however, has really only been with us for a little less than 100 years. And the (literal) rise of the skyscraper era is directly linked to the development of the modern elevator.

Outside of the go-anywhere elevator featured in the ending of the 1971 film Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the basic idea of the elevator has remained more or less unchanged since it debuted. But whether glassed-in or high speed, they still only go up and down.

That is until late last year when German company ThyssenKrupp announced its MULTI elevator, which can go up and down as well as side to side. Instead of the traditional cables, the cabin is moved by magnetic force. (Bloomberg Businessweek has an excellent visual rendering of how it works.) Directional improvements aside, the new technology also means that cabins are considerably lighter and will be able to travel more efficiently through buildings. Accompanying the story was the staggering statistic that elevators take up 40 per cent of the space in an average condo tower. Read more



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.

07
Jan

2015

Emirates Air Line: Success or Failure? It Depends

Emirates Air Line in London. Image by Flickr user snappyhopper. (Creative Commons)

Emirates Air Line in London. Image by Flickr user snappyhopper. (Creative Commons)

Over the holiday season, the British media picked up on the story that, apparently, the number of commuters on the Emirates Air Line has literally dropped to zero. Numerous publications (such as here, here, and here) argued this was evidence of the folly of the project and proof of how much of a white elephant it’s become. 

Sure. Okay. Fair enough.

The problem is that this white elephant is getting 20,000–30,000 riders every week. For those keeping track, that’s up to 1.5 million riders a year. Those aren’t white elephant numbers.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not the biggest fan of the Emirates Air Line, largely due to the fact that the capital costs of the system are so completely out-of-whack with industry norms. 

But what gets lost in this whole debate is that as a piece of tourism infrastructure, the system appears to be a success.

Read more



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.

17
Dec

2014

Scuba Diving, Conservation and Cable Cars

Reef forest. Image by Flickr user JennyHuang.

Reef forest. Image by Flickr user JennyHuang.

Can recreation and conservation co-exist? 

Ask groups like the Grand Canyon Escalade opposition group Save the Confluence or the anti-Cheddar Gorge Cable Car circle at Keep Cheddar Gorgeous and the answer seems clear—no, they cannot. 

Yet, of course they can. Recreation and conservation are not mutually exclusive. Look at scuba diving, for example. The current thinking from that field suggests that, in fact, recreation within natural environments tends to lead more people to help with conservation efforts in those very places. 

It may seem like a contradictory argument at first, but it’s really not. Despite some well-founded claims that inexperienced divers can damage the corral reefs they’re supposed to be enjoying, the scuba-diving community is known for its advocacy, conservation and awareness programs. And this ethos originates from a place of tourism, business and recreation.

As a group of Southern Cross University scholars pointed out in a paper from 2012, some scuba divers move from an initial place of wanting simply “to see the big stuff” towards a more nuanced understanding of underwater ecosystems. Through their first-hand encounters with marine environments, they become “integral to raising conservation awareness within the wider community.”  Read more



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.

09
Dec

2014

5 breathtaking gondola rides that should have made the Daily Mail’s list

Stanserhorn CabriO in Switzerland. Image courtesy of CabriO.

Stanserhorn CabriO in Switzerland. Image courtesy of CabriO.

Back in October, the Daily Mail posted their list of the most breathtaking gondola rides in the world. The inventory of cable car systems, which included Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Teleferico de Merida in Venezuela, and the rotating Palm Springs Aerial Tramway in California, is impressive, if a little bit obvious. So we rounded up five more gondolas that offer uniquely breathtaking rides. 

Stanserhorn CabriO (Switzerland)

Opened in 2012 as an updated alternative to the 120-year-old rail funicular, the CabriO cable car provides access to the top of Mount Stanserhorn in the centre of Switzerland. Beyond the thrill of ascending the mountain along 2,320 metres of cable, riders can venture into the open air to check out the scenery on the gondola’s second deck. (Pictured above.)

Peak 2 Peak (Whistler, Canada)

Ostensibly created to service the ski resorts at the tops of Whistler-Blackcomb’s two major mountains, Peak 2 Peak has gained considerable recognition for its record-breaking innovation. The almost entirely horizontal system stretches from Whistler Mountain’s Roundhouse Lodge to Blackcomb Mountain’s Rendezvous restaurant across 4.4 km of cable, more than 3 km of which is a free span — the longest in the world. At the time, its highest point (436 metres) held the world record for highest cable car. Discovery Channel even made a documentary about the construction of the system.

Peak 2 Peak in Whistler, BC. Image by Flickr user Dan Dan The Binary Man.

Peak 2 Peak in Whistler, BC. Image by Flickr user Dan Dan The Binary Man.

Roosevelt Island Tram (New York)

While not breathtaking in the natural majesty sense of the word, New York’s refurbished Roosevelt Island Tram nonetheless offers riders an impressive view of Manhattan, not to mention the waterfront skyline along the Hudson River’s east channel. Plus, this is the only CPT line to feature in a Spider-Man movie. 

Roosevelt Island tram. Image by Flickr user Chevar.

Roosevelt Island tram. Image by Flickr user Chevar.

Koblenz Rheinseilbahn (Germany)

The cable car system that services Koblenz was constructed specifically for the city’s turn playing host to Germany’s bi-annual Bundesgartenshau horticulture festival in 2011. Using advanced 3S technology, the gondola carries riders directly from downtown Koblenz to the area near the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress across the Rhine river — a trek otherwise requiring a roundabout surface route and a funicular.

Image by Flickr user Mundus Gregorius.

Koblenz Rheinseilbahn. Image by Flickr user Mundus Gregorius.

Mi Teleferico Red Line (La Paz, Bolivia)

The first of the three lines that make up the urban cable car system in Bolivia’s capital, Mi Teleferico’s Red Line opened in May of this year to the relief of the city’s gridlocked commuters. Aside from providing a convenient alternative to the traffic-clogged driving routes (the Red Line traverses its 2.4 km in around 10 minutes), the journey gives commuters a stunning view of the Andes and a look at the surrounding metropolis from nearly 500 metres up. 

Mi Teleferico's Linea Roja. Image by TheGamerJediPro (Wiki Commons).

Mi Teleferico’s Linea Roja. Image by TheGamerJediPro (Wiki Commons).



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.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...