Posts Tagged: London Cable Car

07
Mar

2012

Emirates Air Line (Cable Car) – PHOTOS (March 2012)

Sneak peek of what towers may look like at night. Image by Flickr user wawd.

More photos uploaded by users on Flickr showing the construction progression of the Emirates Air Line (Cable Car) in London.

Station under construction. Image by Flickr user wawd.

It appears that as of March 3, 2012, two towers have been erected. Image by Flickr user wawd.

For more pictures, a new thread on Skyscrapercity has been started to document its development.



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17
Feb

2012

Weekly Roundup – Gondola Cooking

Top Chef: Fine Cuisine on a Gondola

Let’s take a quick look at some of the highlights from around the world of Urban Gondolas, Gondola Transit, and Cable Propelled Transit.

  • Contestants on the popular tv show Top Chef find themselves cooking in the Whister’s Peak 2 Peak Gondola for their final challenge. Chefs cooking safely in a gondola really is a testament to the high level of stability achieved in 3S CPT technology.
  • Table Mountain cable car in Cape Town, South Africa experiences a minor glitch, leaving 250 passengers stuck at the peak (not inside the cabin). However, staff immediately provided food and drinks to keep tourists entertained while visitors enjoyed the nighttime cityscape from up top.
  • Exciting news from London as reports state that the London Cable Car (Emirates Air Line Cable Car) will be strung on the weekend of March 10. The system seems to be on schedule and may be operational by the start of the Olympics.


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
Feb

2012

Where do you put the towers?

On this blog there’s a lot of talk about cable as a flexible and adaptable technology for urban transit. CPT can travel above roads and traffic, go through buildings, and cross rivers and gorges. But for all that to work there needs to be space for towers and stations, too.

So what happens when a city’s simply got no space?

They deal.

Take New York City, for example. The Roosevelt Island Tram’s been dealing with this problem for 35 years by building a tower right over a road. Of course they did, because the system has three towers, two of which are located in Manhattan, the most densely populated New York City borough and the country’s densest county.

The Roosevelt Tram tower sits right on top of 60th St. -- CC image by Flickr user David Berkowitz.

Then there’s a system in Romania, where the city of Piatra Neamt built a cable car system, of which an entire kilometer traverses the city — towers and all.

To do this they built a tower in a road median . . .

Image courtesy of Doppelmayr.

. . . one over a parking lot . . .

Image courtesy of Doppelmayr.

. . . and even one on top of a sidewalk, so as not to obstruct pedestrian traffic underneath.

Image courtesy of Doppelmayr.

Now, we’re not saying this is the best way to go about designing towers. Remember, there are practical designs and then there are pretty designs.

London and Portland have the aesthetics down pat. Both cities dedicated a lot of thought and effort (not to mention a few dollars) to create stunning architectural towers, and in return have (or will soon have) practical works of art, so to speak.

But the adaptability seen in New York and Piatra Neamt should not go unnoticed either. As drab and industrial as the tower designs are, they represent a collaboration that can exist between municipalities and transit planning when both parties add a bit of imagination and ingenuity to the mix.

The important question here is how to blend the practicality of New York and Piatra Neamt with the beauty of London and Portland. That’s the challenge and the opportunity.



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.

04
Nov

2011

Weekly Roundup: London Cable Car and Burnaby Gondola Updates

A couple highlights from around the world of Urban Gondolas, Gondola Transit, and Cable Propelled Transit:

 

Lesson 1 – How To Shoot Yourself In The Foot (link):

Details emerge about TfL's sponsorship deal for the London Thames Cable Car.

  • London Mayor Boris Johnson has released a letter explaining the details of the Emirates Air sponsorship deal for the London Cable Car. Of the myriad problems the letter highlights the most problematic hinges on the penalties Transport for London (TfL) may incur should the line experience “a period of poor performance once operational.” This is obviously code for “lower than anticipated ridership levels.”
  • Given that the letter explicitly states that fares for the system are “not likely to be a part of the Travelcard scheme,” we can reasonably assume this system to be pure Toy for Tourist – which readers will note from the previous link have a habit of underperforming in western, english-speaking countries (for whatever reason).
  • In other words: Unless TfL expects a mass number of tourists to use this line post-Olympics (assuming it’s built in time for the Olympics), London taxpayers could find themselves on the hook for more of this project’s cost than they anticipated. The questions that need to be asked are; 1) what are the “poor performance” conditions as described? 2) what penalties will TfL incur if the performance targets are not met? And; 3) What volume of tourists are found in this area currently? Is a gondola likely to change that?

 

Lesson 2 – How (Not) To Do Public Consultation (link):

  • Burnaby MP Kennedy Stewart has conducted an extensive telephone survey of Burnaby residents to gauge their feelings about the controversial Burnaby Mountain Gondola. Of the almost 6,000 households contacted, more than 1,000 residents participated.
  • As we’ve discussed before, we’re no fans of Translink’s public consultation process on this project and it’s interesting to note that Mr. Stewart’s survey highlighted the fact that those “against the project had mentioned (poor public consultation) as an issue.” At 47% support, the plan is within a hair’s width of majority support. It’s worth considering how many of those against and those undecided would be for the project had the public consultation process been a little more open, comprehensive and inclusive from the very beginning.


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25
Jul

2011

Cablegraphs: Vertical London

A quick comparison of existing heights in London and the proposed London Cable Car’s tallest tower.

click image for larger version

*this is a new (revised) version of a previous image



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20
Jun

2011

Is Public Transportation 340% More Expensive Than It Needs To Be?

Why is the Koblenz system so cheap compared to public installations?

Cable Propelled Transit systems could prove a boon to public transportation scholars and researchers because the technology’s curious history could open up the ‘black box’ of public transportation funding in the developed world and throw into question our entire model of how we build things that move other things.

Because cable has a long history of being utilized in a variety of other installations, we have an excellent model of how much these systems should – and do – cost. Problem is, this model seems to increasingly run up against the cost estimates prepared by government agencies.

If history is any predictor of the future, then a cable system built in an english-speaking country for the primary purpose of public transportation is likely to cost 300 – 400% more than an equivalent system built for recreational purposes. That’s concerning because whether for recreational or public transportation purposes, both systems are essentially doing the same thing – moving people from Point A to Point B.

Now let’s not make any mistake here: Of course a system built by a public agency for public transportation purposes will be more costly than those built by the private sector for recreational purposes. But should the gulf between these two purposes be so wide?

Consider the Koblenz Rheinseilbahn: It was built for ~$20m USD. It’s state-of-the-art 3S technology and is just under 1 km in length.

Now compare that to the Burnaby Mountain gondola which is estimated to cost $120m CAD (note: at time of writing, USD and CAD were basically equivalent). Now the Burnaby system is 2.7 km long. That additional length should add no more than ~$15m USD to the line costs for the system.

Assuming an alternate universe where the Koblenz Rheinseilbah was the same length as the Burnaby Mountain gondola, the total cost of this alternate reality Rheinseilbahn would therefore be ~$35m USD. That means that the public sector Burnaby gondola is 342% more expensive than the private sector Koblenz gondola.

Granted, there are a few caveats to this analysis which are important:

  • Government is always more expensive than the private sector.
  • The Koblenz Rheinseilbahn doesn’t have any of the air rights or privacy challenges that the Burnaby Mountain gondola has to wrestle with.
  • We have little understanding of the funding mechanism used in Koblenz. It’s possible the system was built at or below cost in exchange for a cut of the gate – a situation that would be all but impossible to replicate in Burnaby.

Nevertheless, a 342% premium is startling. And we don’t have anywhere near enough information to understand why that premium exists.

This isn’t an argument against the Burnaby Mountain gondola. Let me repeat that: This isn’t an argument against the Burnaby Mountain gondola. It is instead a concern about how we build transit in a western, developed city.

After all, we’ve seen equivalent situations with the Portland Aerial Tram, London Cable Car and Oakland Airport Connector. All display similar price points that are simply out of line with what we know and understand about cable technology.

This suggests a problem that is not specific to Burnaby but is systemic to our public transportation model. Either we’re paying a price that’s 3 times higher than is necessary or we could be building 3 times as much transit for the same amount of money. Either situation is unsustainable and should be subject to intense public scrutiny as it undermines our ability to quickly and cost-effectively build transit.

Maybe after we look a bit closer, we’ll conclude that’s just the way the system is. But if so, then shouldn’t we at least be asking why that is?



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18
Jun

2011

Weekly Roundup: Journalist on Foot Faster Than Cable Car

A few highlights from around the world of Urban Gondolas and Cable Propelled Transit:



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